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September 25, 2009

LYNN SHERR: This isn't the first time as a reporter that I've covered what's been labeled, the year of the woman. Make that, years of the women.

1984 — Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first woman to run as vice-president on a major party ticket.

GERALDINE FERRARO:By choosing a woman to run for our nation's second highest office, you send a powerful signal to all Americans: There are no doors we cannot unlock [...] If we can do this, we can do anything.

LYNN SHERR: 1992 — Women help sweep Bill Clinton into the White House, and the Senate boasts a record six female members.

2008 — One woman runs for president; another for vice president. Actually, no one called that the year of the woman.

The United Nations expanded the concept to the International Women's Year — then requested more time with the Decade for Women and a series of global conferences — 1975 Mexico City, 1985 Nairobi, 1995 Beijing.

HILLARY CLINTON: If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights once and for all.

LYNN SHERR: Each of those events laid the groundwork for the new momentum. But after all those so-called years of the woman, I'm just the teensiest bit wary about seeing today's moment in time as the final one. Still, I'm full of hope, because the concept is correct — empowering women may be our only chance. And the tactics have changed. The mantra today is not "giving" but "investing" — a recognition that investing in women and their families is not only right, but will reap profits for everyone.

We just heard that this 21st century is our time. Century of women — not bad. Let's hope it takes less than the whole one hundred years. We can't wait that long.

That's it for this week. The Journal continues online on our website at Click on "Bill Moyers Journal" for more information on the state of women's rights around the world. You can also learn more about Rory Stewart and his experiences in Afghanistan.

And you can still see Bill Moyer's web exclusive essay on Dick Armey and the recent anti-health care protest in Washington. That's all at

Bill will be back on the next edition of the Journal. I'm Lynn Sherr.

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