Greetings, I am Anne Firth Murray. I teach
at Stanford University, and I am the Founding President of an organization called The Global
Fund for Women. Although I have been teaching at Stanford
for many years, I am at heart an activist. I have been deeply involved with international
women’s issues and organizations—globally. In designing this course, I decided to go
back to my experience in the world, at The Global Fund for Women, and see what women
themselves had written to us about. What were the issues that they found so important that
they created organizations around them? Those issues are the ones I take up in my class. During the course, we cover many important
topics in international women’s health, beginning in infancy and continuing through to old age. These include son preference, access to education, HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, violence against
women, women in conflict and war, sex trafficking and aging, among other related issues. Throughout the course, there are four critical
themes. I call them “critical” because they can mean life or death for women, depending
on whether or not they can exercise their human rights. The critical themes are: Being born a woman, which brings with it discrimination
and demeaning. Poverty. The vast majority of people living
in poverty today, in all countries, are women. Third, unequal access to several services
or rights, such as healthcare, food, money and education.
And the fourth critical issue, which I consider central to the course: violence—gender-based
violence. I invite you to join this online experience.
We are developing a diverse international community, and I look forward to learning
from you and offering opportunities for you to interact and learn from each other. Thank you.