Role of Women in the 21st Century
By Josette S. Shiner

This is an excerpt from the address given on the recent WFWP tours of Korea, Japan, America and Europe.

As an editor of The Washington Times, I am often invited to address conferences and to speak on television in the United States. And, as mentioned, I have had the privilege of interviewing many of the world's leaders such as Ronald Reagan and the president of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung.

During these events, my opinion is asked on all the current events of the day, and I have heard those events addressed by the men who are currently leading the world.

But I am most pleased to address women, especially on the issues of the role of women in the world. Why?

I have found that in many ways women share a common language. No matter what our culture, no matter what our background, we can understand each other. Isn't this true?

I am a wife and mother of three children. I am sure many of you have also had the experience of having a life grow inside of you. Can you remember the moment you held your child in your arms for the first time?

There is no more revolutionary moment in a woman's life than this breath stopping event. The world becomes silent as we are filled with the awesome wonder of this small, innocent miracle of life placed so trustingly in our hands.

In an instant we become inseparably linked to the human chain of life, the human quest for a better world, this endless quest of hope and dreams.

My dear friends, Mrs. Moon has so eloquently spoken of women's responsibility at this time in history. Can it be otherwise? Can we sit by and not ensure a world of hope, a legacy of peace to our children?

Women in the 21st century

I have been asked to speak today on the role of women in the 21st century. This was not an easy topic, I discovered. In preparation for this speech, I read the words and pronouncements of many leading women in America. And I was most surprised.

As these women leaders went out and spoke to the young women of America, they addressed only one topic over and over again: how could women more successfully compete with men and learn to behave more like men?

These speeches were often filled with resentment and anger. They were urging women to be tougher, to learn to fight, to learn to "play the game" in the world like men.

But I find it very interesting that when I meet with other women in media and in politics many of whom gave up having a family to pursue their goals I find them asking themselves whether their career achievements really add up to the sum of a successful life.

The more I studied these ideas and have seen the results of this philosophy, the more I am convinced that women's value will not be in trying to imitate men, or in becoming more like men.

Our value will be in honoring our womanhood and femininity, and offering to the world the wisdom that is held in this other, vital half of humanity.

My dear friends, at this very moment, in every single city in the world from Nigeria to Nepal a girl is being born. These young ladies will become women in the new century. They will soon be looking to us for guidance on what their hopes, dreams and responsibilities will be in this new world.

So what shall we tell them?

We must be able to answer this question. That is why what we are doing here today is so vitally important. That is why we must be very serious about the example we set and the legacy we leave.

There are many people today who believe that we are on the verge of a worldwide crisis, unprecedented in human history. Anyone who picks up a newspaper anywhere in the world reads of racial riots in Los Angeles; genocide in fragmented Yugoslavia; politically-motivated starvation in some parts of Africa. And there is not a major city in any country on this earth that is not plagued by the growing moral diseases of crime, drugs, immorality and hopeless poverty.

No one nation has an answer to these problems. No system of government has proven so successful that it can avoid these problems.

We should be celebrating a worldwide spring of new hope. The countries that were enslaved by communism have fallen under the weight of their own lies and deception.

Yet, despite early hopes of new freedom, the people in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe find themselves in growing chaos, unabated economic crises and now violence and bloodshed.

Role of religion

Most people on this earth worship God in one form or another. Whatever we call this Supreme Being, we believe that the best of human nature comes from our Creator. Yet how many wars have been fought, how many people have been killed in the name of religion? This is not a page out of history but as recent as today's front pages.

I come from a nation which has been blessed with great abundance. In America you can drive in a car for days and see nothing but miles and miles of golden fields corn, soy beans and wheat stretching as far as the eye can see. Yet today, as we sit here in this room, thousands of innocent human being will die of hunger.

We are not here to blame men for the current state of the world although this is a refrain often heard from bitter feminists around the world. But let us realize that the hope for the 21st century will be determined by how much women are willing to work with men to influence the direction of the world's nations.

How well can we use our natural abilities as peacemakers and mediators to begin to turn the tide against war and conflict? How well can we use our natural abilities as harmony-seekers and nurturers to insist that starvation and homelessness are unacceptable?

How long will it take to demonstrate that the attributes that link us all together as brothers and sisters are stronger than the external differences which set us apart as enemies?

Can any of you imagine two women sacrificing the lives of everyone in their nation because of some boundary dispute? Would women risk all they hold dear to satisfy some political slight? It's just not our nature. And history is now demanding that we quickly play a key role in solving our world's ills at this critical time.

So how can women play their part? Frankly speaking, this is a question I ask myself every day. As I leave home each morning, I know I must have a good reason and a good motivation to go into the world and leave my children.

But I am very fortunate. I work for a great newspaper The Washington Times, founded with incredible vision by Reverend and Mrs. Moon just ten short years ago. The Washington Times is a newspaper of historic courage standing alone against the waves of defeat and negativism that pound our moral shoreline.


In this world today the media television, newspapers and radio is the modern-day pulpit where the average person goes for their daily sermon. Some children in America watch up to six hours of television a day! This is where our children are learning about moral values, the future.

And what are they being taught?

A recent survey of the top 100 Hollywood producers those people who determine what is played on the televisions and in the movie houses of America and much of the world revealed these attitudes: 93% of these top executives say they seldom or never attend religious services. 75% describe themselves as left-of-center politically. 80% do not regard homosexual relations as wrong. More than half said they do not regard adultery as wrong.

Most importantly, two-thirds of these executives said they feel it is their job to promote these ideas their vision of the world through the media.

But there is one man, one couple, in the world which has taken on the power of the anti-values media. That is Reverend and Mrs. Moon.

The Washington Times promotes the values of family, virtue, world peace and reconciliation. It is a lone voice in a wilderness of violence, sex and immorality. The Washington Times has become the sole source of media power in the world's most powerful city defending those values which will lead the world out of darkness, panic and fear. And as a wife and mother I am deeply motivated to help fight this noble battle.

We are as a trumpet of truth in these days of confusion. Having worked at the heart of the media, I have learned that we must not be intimidated into cowardice by those who despise truth and deplore values. As women we must be bold in our commitment to defending traditional values and those things we hold sacred and dear in every aspect of life.

When I speak to women's groups there is one question I am asked most often. "How can I play a role?" they ask. Many women will tell me that they do not have confidence they can contribute. They tell me they have no Ph.D. no great career no experience in the work place.

I have a very simple answer. It is clear to me that what the world needs most urgently is not another business executive not another Ph.D. not another lawyer. These things may be important, but they alone will not bring us a world of peace in the next century.

What the world needs very simply are individuals with commitment and genuineness of heart. The world is starving for this heart! And as women of commitment we must have confidence that we can and will make a difference.

When I interview heads of state I often find them very weary. They see the troubles in the world and feel the suffering of those around them on their own hands. They are desperate for encouragement and help from those committed to the ideal of peace.

My grandmother is from the tiny village in France where the Catholic saint, Jeanne d'Arc, was born. I was raised as a young girl with the stories of this brave young farm girl. She was able to do what no man could do: move a weak and defeated king to take on his responsibility and finally fight the enemy. She saved her nation!

But there was one thing that always struck me about this story. Saint Joan had no formal education. She had no credentials. She had no friends in powerful places. She only had a simple faith in what was right and a simple faith in the power of God.


So we can no matter what our background make a difference as women. Just as a family needs a father and a mother, so too must these qualities be available to complement each other in every aspect of society.

I believe we are entering a new age where men and women couples merge their best qualities of leadership.

I must say that in my experience the pioneers in this new era of joint leadership are Reverend and Mrs. Moon. Reverend Moon teaches that men and women are equal before our Creator, and with distinct and unique characteristics. While these qualities are valuable unto themselves, they can only be manifest in their fullest form when they complement each other and work together in harmony.

Over the years I have had the privilege to watch Reverend and Mrs. Moon work together. As I mentioned earlier, ten years ago Reverend Moon had the vision to bring a new media voice to America through The Washington Times. From the earliest planning meetings where Reverend Moon outlined his vision, to his recent planning of our tenth anniversary celebration attended by key leaders from all over the world Mrs. Moon was always by his side.

And last December when Reverend Moon initiated what was to become the historic thawing of relations between North and South Korea with his personal visit with Kim Il-Sung, Mrs. Moon went with him.

They both knew the personal danger involved. Reverend Moon never hesitated to take this courageous step and Mrs. Moon not only did not counsel him to be cautious or to stay back, but she went bravely forward with him.

Now this new movement, represented by today's conference on the Women's Federation for World Peace, has been initiated by Mrs. Moon.

She has traveled thousands of miles, speaking all over Asia, and soon all over the world, trying to awaken women to take their historic role as peacemakers. Tens of thousands of women have now heard this message and are responding. They are responding with enthusiasm because it strikes a chord of truth in their hearts.

Over the last two decades in America, women have been struggling to find their true role. Many women used the new feminist movement as an excuse to release years of resentment. In many ways, it has become an anti-men's movement.

Recently The Washington Times magazine wrote about the fruits of this feminist movement, saying that women were no closer to finding internal peace, and men had begun a backlash of their own resentment against these women.

A movement based on anger, resentment and hate can never bring good results. That is why this Federation and the hope of this new philosophy of complementary leadership is so needed.

Women and men must work together. Women and men need each other. I am so encouraged when I see Reverend and Mrs. Moon working together. She supports his work. He uplifts and encourages her in hers. They work as a team.

Let us remember that with our special qualities as women also come special responsibilities.

Only a woman can bear a child. Only a woman can be a mother. In addition to bearing, nurturing and raising our own children, we share a united responsibility to maintain, uplift and improve each of our home towns, cities and nations at this crucial time.

In my own culture we have a very romantic image of the pioneer cowboys of the old West. Men of various occupations would be the first to pioneer the new territories, courageously encountering unknown physical dangers.

Individual frontiersmen, trappers and hunters, soldiers and cowboys sought their personal fortunes as they pushed the American border ever westward. The small frontier towns which they established were well known for their lawless nature. It wasn't called the wild West for nothing!

But as the hunters and cowboys moved on to further western adventures, they were followed by families of settlers and farmers. Now women brought their civilizing influence and began directing the building of churches and schools to compete with the earlier saloons and gambling halls. The American West was won by men, but it endured because of women.

Today, as I mentioned earlier, we are faced with a worldwide moral crisis. The physical threat of a third war between the major superpowers has been rendered virtually nonexistent by the breakdown of the former Soviet empire.

But if the dangers of nuclear war have dimmed, the threat of internal collapse has grown. In country after country and culture after culture, we as mothers and as leaders fear for our children's future.

Drugs, drinking, careless sex without love and violence without cause has made life very cheap in many areas. Our children are making choices which may preclude a hopeful future and in doing so are risking the very future of our earth.

As in the early American West, we as women must step forward at this time to fill the moral gap. We must remind our cultures of the religious, spiritual and moral values which empower us and protect us.

We must help our children and our families return to God. We must also seek a way to heal the wounds and erase the racial, religious and cultural animosities which allow our brothers to kill each other.

The world is so small today. At the end of this conference it will take less than a day for each of us to return to our homes no matter if our journey is 100 miles or 10,000 miles.

I hope that we can use the bonds of our sisterhood also to bind this world together so we can truly create a new peace movement.

My dear friends, the day I held my first child in my arms, I changed. I could no longer hear of wars, starvation, violence and suffering with a sense of personal distance. I looked at the whole world as the legacy I would pass on to this beautiful innocent life I held so tightly.

And I remember at that time, when I turned on the television news, and saw the hollow, lined face of a starving child in Africa with young, innocent eyes devoid of hope I cried. I cried for that child's mother because now I knew her heart of anguish as she watched this life, this miracle of God, snatched from her weary, loving hands. And I knew she was helpless.

My dear friends, let us determine today that we will in our lifetime see the last child ever to die from starvation.

Let us determine that we will see the last bereaved mother to lose a son in a senseless war.

Let us determine that we will see the last school-age child denied an education because that child's family or nation is enmeshed in poverty.

It is in our power to do so. Let us awaken this sleeping giant this silent half of humanity to open the eyes of the world to what is possible. Let us dream but more than dream: let us ensure that the new century will bring an era of peace and prosperity to all.

Thank you very much.