Women I Can't ForgetA Global Traveler Reveals the Struggle and Courage of Women Without Rights
Also by Winnie Williams: The Price and Privilege of Being a Woman
There is no dignity for many of the world's women but a life filled with despair. Winnie Williams, psychologist, college educator, and world traveling missionary, spent years studying women from diverse cultures. Women I Can't Forget shares the lives and personal stories of women in third-world countries in a quest to elevate awareness of their plight.
From Albania to China, Peru, India, Haiti and South Africa, Ms. Williams describes the everyday lives of women and how they are affected by cultural dogma, and economic and social conditions. Amidst almost overwhelming oppression, Ms. Williams also uncovered their feelings of hope along with a timeless desire to be loved and accepted.
"Winnie Williams ventured where those of us who consider ourselves sensible thought she shouldn't go.... This book creates mental images vivid enough to ensure that you, too, can't forget these women." Sandra A. Reeves, Ed.D.
"These fascinating eye-witness accounts make one see and feel what life is like for women who are locked into an existence of subservience in the male-dominated societies of many developing countries. We can thank this intrepid and sensitive author, who made many dangerous and difficult trips to remote areas of these countries and shares here the engaging stories of what she found." Mary Glazener, author, The Cup of Wrath
"These profiles of unforgettable women provide a stirring reminder of the power of the human spirit to rise above significant cultural and economic barriers. It is clear that these women, and many other unforgettable women just like them, possess an inner strength that shapes and changes our world. A remarkable look at the truly powerful spirit of these women." David J. Spittal, President, Southern Wesleyan University
"Women I Can't Forget is a book I can't forget. The stories and the truth revealed here cannot be forgotten or ignored. Winnie Williams has given us powerful and haunting glimpses into the lives of women in other parts of the world. They are women who have been painfully disenfranchised because of religion, history, tradition, power, and male domination. We need to hear their stories because they, too, are our sisters." Raye Nell Dyer, President, Baptist Women in Ministry, Chaplain, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
"Women I Can't Forget is a book that will quickly capture your interest. It literally takes you on a journey to other countries, allows you to view different cultural lifestyles and at the same time tells a moving story of the degradation of women and their struggles. This is a must-read book for every woman." Jo Ella White, author, Jim's Court House
Table of Contents
1. South Africa's Women
2. Peruvian Women: Overcoming Poverty and Tradition
3. India's Women: An Endangered Species
4. Women of China
5. Haiti And Its Struggling Women
6. Albania: Women Digging Out of Tradition
7. Thailand's Women In Crisis
Women Must Persevere As If Their Lives Depended on Their Efforts - And They Do!
I am, and have been for most of my life, intrigued with people who live in countries a world apart from my confortable life in America. Thus, over the past fourteen years I have roamed the world in search of vastly different places and people, specifically those in developing countries. In traveling to more than thirty countries, often alone, I have spent up to six weeks in some of these countries in exploration of remote villages with primitive settings, observing and talking to people dwelling in slums and villages, and relishing in the splendor of a few wealthy people. I have seen a wide variety of human problems and have viewed a slice of people's lives that is both fascinating and distrubing, especially those facets related to the vulnerability of women.
Through my travels I have explored the enchantment and seductiveness of these countries and have been privy to the views of women whose voices celebrate their joys, especially of motherhood, and lament their exploitation. I have been touched by the struggles of my sisters in societies that reject women as significant others and cheer with those women who are riding an upward trend in securing professional jobs and joining organizations which seek to empower women.
I mingled with crowds amid the stifling smells of cities and have had women thrust their children with cancerous sores near my face, begging for coins or food. I have spoken with women who have experienced senseless persecutions and hopelessness in their quest for freedom, women, rich and poor alike, who related their struggles of coping with the fact that an intrinsic part of their culture, their religion, and the ideologies of their countries demand the subjugatiton of women. I became aware that there is no dignity for many of the world's women, only a life filled with despair and a quest to be loved and accepted.
The women of China, for example, faces tribulation as she seeks to cope with the limits of one child per family, threats to unwanted female children, and lack of parity in the workplace. The Albanian women is unable to break out of the trap of domesticity and grueling farm work. Though her mind is athirst for a life that gives her joy and hope, she is hopelessly bound by the longstanding customs of servitude.
The pleas of the Amazon woman are timeless as she ekes our her living along the Amazon River and in the surrounding jungles. Living in a hut built high on stilts, she is surrounded by her half-naked children and condemned to a life of toil.
The South African woman, perhaps the most vulnerable of all, keeps going in spite of adversitiy as she is beaten by her husband, sometimes raped, and forced to share her husband with other women. She may be left behind when her husband goes to the city to work and adds one or two additional wives to his harem and fails to send money back home to the township to support her, his first wife and his children.
In Thailand, often called the land of the "smiling people," the woman is controlled by the male, and she does not smile as she endures a subservient status and physical abuse. The land of Thailand offers beauty, enchantment, and splendid ocean resorts along with enticements of the prostitute for the visiting male. Thus, many of the women of Thailand are afflicted with AIDS, especially in Bangkok, the prostitution capital of Asia.
As I encountered the women of these countries, I peered not only into their lives and heard their laughter but their hopes as well as their cries and shared in their revelations. I learned of the joys of motherhood and their acts of heroism as well as their menacing bondage. I tried to measure the cost of living for these women and saw that it is a price that no woman should have to pay. Their pleas are timeless as they reach for hope.
I have tried to arouse the reader's sensitivity to the culturally based roles forces on these women. It is difficult to view their situation without identifying with the intensity of their yearnings and experiencing a strong desire to facilitate change, even though it may be small. My aim in writing Women I Can't Forget is to elevate peoples awareness of the status of women in developing countries.
Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2001
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