Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said his annual conference to link philanthropists with the fight against global poverty is focused on women because they’re not considered equal to men in many parts of the world.
There are still places where women are seen as “part human and part property,” Clinton said at the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative’s meeting in Manhattan. “Is there a widespread belief, deep down inside, that men should have more rights than women? It’s worth thinking about.”
Clinton said that, by the end of this session, the global initiative will have collected over its five-year history 1,946 pledges worth more than $63 billion.
The former president announced a plan by the Stamford, Connecticut-based aid group AmeriCares to build a safe haven for 1,000 adolescent girls in earthquake-ravaged Haiti to protect them from sexual assault.
Clean drinking water, a leading cause of disease and death among mothers and small children, will be a major focus of this year’s meeting along with help for Haiti, Pakistan and the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Procter & Gamble Co. Chief Executive Officer Bob McDonald said the Cincinnati-based consumer-products company will distribute 2 billion packets of a water purification product called “Pur” free in developing countries. Clinton said the packets would save at least one life every hour.