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World & Us Leaders

In: Historical Events

Submitted By bekah612
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One person can make a big difference

Benazir Bhutto (June 21, 1953- December 27, 2007) was born in Pakistan. She was the daughter of Zulifikar Ali Bhutto, the leader and founder of the Pakistan People’s Party. Benazir attended college at Harvard (1969-73) and Oxford University (1973-77) and was awarded degrees in Comparative Government and Philosophy, Political Science and Economics. Benazir had plans to enter Pakistan’s Foreign Service, however the execution of her father propelled her into politics. She had visions of continuing her father’s legacy and hoped to restore democracy in Pakistan (Benazir Bhutto, 2014). Due to her strong beliefs and dedication to her father’s cause I believe that one of the most significant social changes during her life would be her desire to restore democracy in Pakistan. Benazir spent many years in prison and self-exile in Europe, during this time she directed the rebuilding of the People’s Party. Upon return to Pakistan in 1986, Benazir began campaigning for a restoration in democracy and was elected co-chair of the PPP (Pakistan People’s Party). Benazir was the first woman to ever lead a political party and move Pakistan toward its first democratic election in more than a decade. On 16 November 1988, in the first open election in more than a decade, Bhutto’s PPP won the majority in the National Assembly. Benazir was sworn in as Prime Minister of a coalition government on December 2, becoming at age 35 the youngest person and the first woman to head the government of a modern Muslim state (Benazir Bhutto, 2014). Benazir believed in the rule of the law and rule of the people. She had a vision to pull Pakistan back from the brink of disaster. Benazir believed that the answer to Pakistan’s problem was a democratic process that would promote peace, justice and tolerance. Benazir had the support of the people, she was the voice for the women, and the poor. The people supported her and believed in her views on democracy and hoped for a change in the world they lived in. The support they gave Benazir did not come without a price, Benazir questioned how many would suffer imprisonment, discrimination, poverty and death before justice and the forces of history restored the democratic order. Without an outright majority win in the election, opposing parties made it difficult for Benazir to push forward all of her legislative programs, and made for a vulnerable government. However, the democratic government that Benazir led did its best to create a new, modern Pakistan. While serving as the Prime Minister, Benazir advanced Pakistan as a model of Islamic moderation, and committed herself to education, with special programs targeted to female illiteracy. Benazir transformed the country into a center for financial and commercial investment. She created the physical infrastructure, the roads, and the electricity, to sustain a modern, developed economy. Benazir believed that Martial law and economic development are mutually exclusive, they cannot exist together and that democracy and economic development must proceed simultaneously (Benazir Bhutto, 2014). Benazir served as the Prime Minister from 1988-1990, when she was dismissed from office before the end of her term. Benazir worried about the people of the country and the people of her party, therefore she vowed to run for office again and spent the next few years gaining the support of her people and was re-elected in 1993 only to be dismissed again before the end of her term in 1996. Benazir would attempt to run again but was defeated (Benazir Bhutto facts, 2014). Benazir believed in a democratic restoration and she achieved that while in office, this was a triumph that was celebrated by the country and recognized by the world as a step in the right direction for Pakistan. Although she did not forever change the political ideas of Pakistan, she made a big impact on the people and forever left her mark on the country.
Being the first woman to head the government of a modern Muslim state proved to be one of the most significant social changes in the life of Benazir Bhutto. Benazir has been a huge inspiration to woman in the Muslim world. As the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir appeared before an historic Joint Session of the United States Congress in 1989. In that address, she had a simple message to the woman of America, my message to the women of the world. Three simple, powerful words: YES YOU CAN! Benazir gave women the confidence the needed, she told them to not accept the status quo, to not take no for an answer, to not accept traditional roles and constraints. Leadership and being female are not contradictory. Benazir’s victory was a victory for women everywhere. After Benazir was elected into office, four other women followed, two in Bangladesh, one in Turkey and in Indonesia. Women everywhere were taking steps towards leadership and gaining the confidence to take new avenues. Benazir made a huge impact on the lives of Muslim women while she was the Prime Minister for Pakistan. Benazir, was an active participate in the International Conference on Population and Development and acceded to its Program of Action reaffirming the principles of gender equality and equity, the empowerment of women, guaranteeing women’s right to development and women’s reproductive rights. Pakistan, under the leadership of Benazir authorized the United Nations’ Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); this was a major achievement of the People’s Party government on international covenants pertaining to the rights of women. Muslim Women’s Parliamentary Union was formed under the leadership of Benazir, this initiative brought together women parliamentarian from 21 Muslim Countries (PPP, 2014)
Benazir made an impact on Muslim women everywhere, she opened doors for them and allowed them many opportunities. In a remembrance article written about Benazir, Salman Tari k Kureshi says, she was a true titan of our land and of our times, for many she was Pakistan’s Princess. (People's Princess, 2014). Benazir changed the world for women and left a huge impression all over the world. She was a leader, a pioneer, and a believer, she fought hard for what she woman’s rights and left people with the same desire to fight for what was right.
All who loved her mourned her tragic death, it was felt like a shockwave throughout the Muslim population. Her death was an event of fearful magnitude. Disbelief, horror, anger, and fear clutched people’s hearts (People's Princess, 2014) .
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (October 1884- November 1962) was not only a politician, she was also the longest-serving First Lady of the United States. She married Franklin D. Roosevelt and held the position of First Lady during his four terms from March 1933 to April 1945 (Eleanor Roosevelt, 2014).
One of the most significant social changes that Eleanor Roosevelt accomplished was her work with the Women’s Movement. Immediately following World War I, she became aware of all the barriers women faced and began to address the causes of poverty and war by working with the International Congress of Working Women and the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom. Eleanor worked with women’s groups around the nation to build their political base. In 1924, she was asked by the Democratic National Committee to chair its platform on women’s issues. Even after asking her to chair this position, Eleanor was forced to sit outside the room while it deliberated and the male committee refused to adopt any of the women’s recommendations. This infuriated Eleanor as she discovered that women were of little importance, and she was determined to be heard. In 1928, she organized one of the most successful get-out- the- vote campaigns and called for women political bosses. Eleanor was quoted saying “Women must learn to play the game as men do” (Eleanor Roosevelt, NWHM, 2014).
Eleanor worked to keep women involved and during her first year as First Lady she helped establish the New Deal. The New Deal Program that worked to directly assist women was the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It hired widows, single women, or women with absent or disabled husbands. Usually the types of jobs were sewing jobs or part of the school lunch program. Eleanor worked very hard to limit the number of hours a woman could be forced to work and to make safe working conditions for women. Eleanor was a champion for women everywhere, she urged them to enter the military, and volunteer for civil defense assignments (New Deal, 2014).
Even after she left the White House she continued to promote women’s equality. Eleanor urged women to speak their minds on policy, politics, and their individual hopes and dreams. Eleanor believed women had special qualities that made them peacemakers and mothers, but she also believed these qualities made them fine politicians, reformers, advocates and professionals (Eleanor Roosevelt and the Womens Movement, 2014). The most significant political change that Eleanor Roosevelt accomplished was helping to establish the Declaration of Human Rights. After the death of her husband, Eleanor was appointed as a delegate to the United Nations by President Harry Truman. Eleanor’s lifelong dedication to human dignity, compassion and her experience in politics gave her an upper hand on the committee. She worked on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by writing part of the text and made sure the language was focused on Human Rights. On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution endorsing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Eleanor supported this adoption as a declaration instead of a treaty because she believed it would have the same significance on global society that the Declaration of Independence has on the United States. She was correct in thinking this. Governments commit themselves and their people to measures which secure the effective recognition and observance of the human rights set out in the Declaration. It has served as the foundation for a growing number of national laws, international laws, and treaties, as well as for a growing number of regional, national, and sub-national institutions protecting and promoting human rights (Declaration of Human Rights, 2014). In its preamble, the Declaration proclaims the inherent rights of all human beings: “Disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people....All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” (Declaration of Human Rights, 2014).
Eleanor saw this as real political work. She thought the declaration could push war away and promote respect for human rights throughout the world (Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 2014). Eleanor referred to this document as the Magna Carta for all mankind. The Universal Declaration of Human rights has been accepted as a contract between a government and its people throughout the world. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the most translated document in the world to date (Declaration of Human Rights, 2014). This speaks volumes for the significance of this political change.

Benazir Bhutto. (2014, March 16). Retrieved from
Benazir Bhutto. (2014, March 17). Retrieved from
Benazir Bhutto facts. (2014, March 16). Retrieved from
Declaration of Human Rights. (2014, March 20). Retrieved from
Declaration of Human Rights. (2014, March 20). Retrieved from
Eleanor Roosevelt. (2014, March 21). Retrieved from
Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (2014, March 20). Retrieved from
Eleanor Roosevelt and the Womens Movement. (2014, March 19). Retrieved from
Eleanor Roosevelt, NWHM. (2014, March 20). Retrieved from
New Deal. (2014, March 21). Retrieved from
People's Princess. (2014, March 16). Retrieved from
Pioneer for Democracy. (2014, March 16). Retrieved from
PPP. (2014, March 17). Retrieved from…...

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