بخشی از مقاله (انگلیسی)
Since 2009, former US President Jimmy Carter has been outspoken in his condemnation of abuses of women around the world. This appears to be a departure from his stance while in the White House (1977–۱۹۸۱), when many feminist groups criticized him for his lack of effort on women’s issues. This paper analyzes the historical record and Carter’s own writing to compare his work since 2009 with his position on women’s issues during his presidency. I argue that although women’s issues have become a higher priority for Carter, his approach still has much in common with attitudes that that angered feminists in the 1970s, including an emphasis on the morality of male leaders – rather than the actions of feminist women – as the means to improve women’s lives. What has changed since the 1970s, however, are his views on religious leaders. While in the White House he courted the support of evangelicals, despite their opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment and other feminist policies; in the intervening years he has come to view conservative religious leaders as barriers to women’s rights. The views of Zainah Anwar and other Islamic feminists are foundational in Carter’s new approach to religion and women’s rights.
James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, a moderate Democrat from the southern state of Georgia, was the 39th president of the United States. During his four years in the White House (1977–۱۹۸۱) Carter had an uneven – and at times contentious – relationship with the US women’s movement. During his campaign he courted feminist organizations and pledged support for their agenda, especially the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). But by his unsuccessful 1980 reelection campaign, feminists were divided about the president. Some praised Carter for progress on women’s issues, including the record high number of female appointees (e.g. King, 1980). Others were deeply critical of his performance. The executive board of the National Organization for Women (NOW) voted not to endorse Carter’s re-election race against Ronald Reagan, claiming Carter’s support for women was “more illusion than reality, more lip service than performance” (Kelber, 1980, 626). Nor did Carter himself claim progress on women’s issues as part of his legacy. In Keeping faith, his (1982) White House memoir, his only mention of his support for the ERA is buried a list of evangelical and conservative criticisms of him, a far cry from his campaign promises to be a leader in the fight for women’s rights.
In the light of this history, Carter’s more recent bold statements on women are unexpected and merit further analysis. In his 2014 book, A call to action: Women, religion, violence and power, Carter condemns the human rights abuses of women around the world, and in 2015 he announced that fighting violence and injustice against girls and women was “the highest priority for the rest of my life” (Botelho, 2015). The central focus of the book is the culture of violence that keeps women and girls from exercising their full rights, a focus that is in line with his longstanding commitment to human rights. The book and his more recent work also are in line with some approaches that earned him the criticism of feminists in the 1970s. In particular, Carter’s approach to women in both eras has emphasized the morality of individual male leaders as protectors of women, rather than challenging gendered power relations and supporting women’s movements.