tv Tavis Smiley WHUT April 4, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. as wave after wave of political of people goes across the middle east, there is growing pressure about the treatment of women in the middle east. we have a marvelous example of a dressmaker in afghanistan. a sneak preview of the new cd from raphael saadiq. hasformer tony! toni! toné! gone on to claim as a solo artist. raphael saadiq will give us a
preview of his cd. we havare glad to have joined us for gayle tzemach lemmon and raphael saadiq. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i'm james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference -- >> thank you. >> you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and answer, nationwide insurance is happy to help tavis improve financial literacy and remove obstacles tn conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television]
tavis: gayle tzemach lemmon is the deputy director of the council of foreign relations women in foreign policy program. she is also the author of "the dressmaker of khair khana," one remarkable family and the women who risked everything to keep them safe. thank you for being on the program. >> thank you for having me. tavis: there is a quote in the book that you made which contextualize is what our conversation will be about. "money is power for women. if women have their own income to bring to the family, they can contribute and make decisions. their entire families will have respect for them." how is money and power different for women than for men? >> this is where you are in the
world. especially in traditional society. this is from the protagonist in the book. her point of view is that turning the income earned respect in the family. i have been reporting on women on to the norris for the past five years. entrepreneurship -- i have been reporting on in women on to the north shipped for the past five years. this gets women have had and grows in schools. tavis: who even knew that there was women on to the norse ship in afghanistan? >> very few people. what you see on the ground is people continually under estimating these women. as a journalist, you go on the ground and you see these stories
and you see the power of these women to not just change their own lives but to change their family dynamics and to bring their income into their family. tavis: tell me more story. >> this is about a woman who's supposed to be a teacher. the taliban comes to afghanistan and she ends up being at the head of the household with brothers and sisters to support. she ends up being the only young woman to head the household and she figures out that she has to find a way to start in business because she has to find a way to support her family. but people do not know about the taliban is the economic story as much as political. people had nothing. jobs would weigh almost overnight. people were selling doors, windows, shoelaces, anything to earn money. these girls realized that they
could not do any of the things that they were trained to do so they became entrepreneurs. her business ended up creating jobs for about 100 women in her neighborhood at a really impossible time when almost every other outlet for women had vanished overnight. tavis: the book tells a remarkable story of how siccative they had to be running a business. -- secretive they had to be running a business. how do they do this secretly? >> that was fascinating to me. they were always navigating around the rules. they took any opening that they had and they exploited it for their whole neighborhood. they follow the rules as much as they could, they always were the burke of -- burqa.
this is so that no shopkeeper would know who they were. there also strict about all of the rules for the girls that work with them. early on in the story, a widow starts to work with them and she becomes the implementation of the rules. there is no laughing on the streets, no talking to men, you can only come on certain days because if you have too many girls at one time, you could have a problem. also know now polish, high heels, because all of those are against taliban rules. -- also no nail polish. tavis: i want to circle back to the quote about money. when i first heard about the
book and it arrived a few days ago, i was anxious to get into it -- given all they had to risk, as the subtitle suggests, it seemed to me that it had to be more than just about money. as much power as they find in have the money because it brings respect to them. i get the sense that it is about their right to self- determination. >> that's right. about determining how their family grows and shapes. also about getting boys and girls in school. money was simply the avenue in a country which is incredibly pork. to really express themselves and make a difference within their own family. within the family unit, these women have made a real impact because of their fathers, husbands cannot dismiss them. they celebrate them.
throughout the book, it is the men who make all this possible. the father make sure that all nine girls got educated. this is an astonishing thing in any country. i think that these women are really shaping their futures of their families as much as they are changing the economic dynamics within their own homes. tavis: i was having a conversation yesterday about men in this country and certainly in other countries for that matter, who can engage almost blindly in patriarchy where their wives are concerned or where their female peers are concerned but they want their daughters -- you know where i'm going with this. what you make of this, particularly in a place like afghanistan? they are in a culture where sexism is the order of the day
but they want them to be educated. what do you think of that dichotomy? >> there are two things. men are all individuals. there are many men who see positive examples of educated women. we were on a river and i was sitting there with a cell phone. this man was telling me about how he worked in a factory in afghanistan. he worked alongside european women. he said the only thing that separated them from the women in his family was education. he became determined that any girl that he would have would be educated. this is also a question of faith. they believe that their faith, everyone has a responsibility to contribute to the community. you cannot do this without education. they saw it as really an extension of their belief in god. they had children that would be able to do anything they could
to make sure that other people were provided for. without an education, you cannot do any of that. tavis: you have been covering these issues for some time. how uniquely different are the challenges that women in other countries -- how different are the challenges for women are around the world verses women in this country to get on that entrepreneur track? >> the crow shall question is the biggest divider in afghanistan. it is hard for them to be educated. -- that question is the biggest divider in afghanistan. that does not mean that men stop you. these men are really incredibly supportive of their wives and daughters and sisters. i think that the challenge of getting acceptance when they are trying to do business in a
traditional society like afghanistan remains. the bigger challenge they face is access to capital. trying to get a bank loan is really hard because women do not have land rights a lot of time. how do you get a loan if people don't know how they will get their money back? people don't like to give loans to businesses in this country where you have bankruptcy court, all of that. the access to capital and markets is really the biggest issue that women face. tavis: how do you juxtapose the challenges that women face in afghanistan and countries like it where patriarchy is concerned where these men want the best for their wives and daughters? if every man in the country wants the best for his wife or daughter, how does patriarchy's stay alive and well? >> people in power like to stay in power. it would take a real sea change among them to really push back
on some of the cultural stereotypes and also to make sure that their daughters get educated. you do see now in afghanistan that women have become real homegrown role models. sometimes, european or american -- i hate to say this but male reporters say that you only read about the exceptions and i say, that is journalism. that theu don't write sun came out today. >> you are right. it is true that these girls are exceptional but they are not the only once. they are home grown in terms of role models. one woman told me a great story. she was doing training with men. she was training about gender issues which she had been paid
to do as part of for business consultancy. she began by reciting from the koran and told them that i am here as your sister, daughter, friend. tavis: very wise. >> after a few days, a very conservative mullah said that if my daughter would turn out like you, i would send her to school. you cannot do this from outside. i think we see this today in the middle east. we cannot impose values, this is really an evolution that women are creating for themselves and that is why i felt so strongly about bringing these stories. no one helped these women during the taliban. they created jobs and hope at a time when the world had forgotten them and they did it themselves. that is what i think their story
is so powerful because it shows how much work they do when no one is looking. tavis: as a country we should have learned by now that you cannot export democracy and freedom. you are making the point that it has to come from within. i feel that there is a role for our government to play in advance of opening up the way. i saw a wonderful story that you did on hillary clinton. she has made this part of her foreign policy. i spent a few weeks traveling with her aroun the country, around the world in fact, for a special i did with her. she was engaging country after country after country. she has to be a woman. what role and responsibility to we have given that we are in afghanistan, specifically, to press for these roles, these pathways to be open for women? >> i was there in july of last summer. what was fascinating about that
is that women have no right to speak. it was secretary clinton lobbying the government and the international community to make sure that women had the right to speak at the last -- at their own conference last summer. what she has done in terms of the civil society posturing, really giving group that fight for democracy, a child marriage, women's advocacy, is a voice within the u.s. state department and giving them the support, training, access to feel that they would not have without department funding. the men congregate towards her immediately. they say -- women congregate towards her immediately. how can we get your support? she does follow up on all of these requests that come into her every day for women around
the world. tavis: does this story make you hopeful? >> i think i am most pessimistic about afghanistan in the u.s. and i am most optimistic when i'm there. you meet people who are fighting better -- fighting for something better. that is what gives me hope. there are entrepreneurs and teachers. one principle in the book, she runs four shifts every day. she does it because she thinks that a girl's education is really critical to our country's future. i am optimistic that people believe that there something better for their country. the odds are so stacked against them. this country is incredibly exhausted with it even though
there is some hope. tavis: i feel compelled to ask as a quick exit question, i find that so often you have to literally put this question up front. here is a story that is literally miles away. hillary clinton is trying to show how this effects democracy. how is -- future important to us where we are sitting? >> one is that these are our allies. if you want to talk about the girls trading a more secure and stable environment, it is wo men, entrepreneurs ore the foundation. so often, we see them as collateral damage rather than contributors. collateral damage, wouldn't it be a shame if their rights were lost again rather than seeing them as real contributors, which is what they are. contributing to a more secure
afghanistan every single day. people have forgot about the people in this world. i think that the coverage of bombings, kidnappings, which are all awful, but they have eclipsed any recognition behalf of the real people who are on our side and fighting for a better future for their country. one woman came up to media the day and said that this is the first time in years that i have thought about the stakes for people in afghanistan, the real people who are doing something every day for the sake of their families. i hope that this helps people to connect once more with the the people fighting every day. >tavis: my guess this -- my guest is gayle tzemach lemmon and her book is "the dressmaker of khair khana,". up next, raphael saadiq and a
[singing] walking down the street, i saw a picture of your face i overlooked you, but you were always there for me losing you is such a big regret everything i touch runs wild i can see the trees again the grass was never greener why didn't i think of this before now my baby is gone i just don't know what to do
without you she's gone i just don't know to -- i just don't know what to do without you i just don't know i just don't where the grass was green was so pretty that is all she ever wanted to see going down the street and calling your name people think i'm going insane i was wishing you were there i raise a toast to you and your new found friends
my baby is gone i just don't know to do without you i just don't i just don't know what to do about you i'm all broke up over you i just don't i just don't i just don't know what to do about you i'm all broke up over you secretll you my everything entry must all always be lover for me there is no other
[applause] >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley on pbs.org. tavis: next time, join me for a conversation with john connally. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i'm james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference -- >> thank you. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in working to improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empo t a time. a time. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.