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Women's Vital Voices: The Costs of Exclusion in Eastern Europe

Courtesy Reuters

The advent of democracy in the former communist states of Europe brings both much promise and, as we are learning, much peril. For millions, the complexion of life has evolved from red to rose-colored to raw. A monolithic nemesis has been replaced by a perplexing variety of threats to stability in this fragile region, with expressions of democracy frequently drowned out by the noises of intolerance and repression.

In this brave new world, the voices of women are vital to healthy social and political discourse. The dramatically low status of women in post-communist Europe is an issue that goes beyond the well-being of women per se to the fostering of economic development and democracy. American interests require that we help the region's women carve out their rightful place in the mainstream of society.

ON THE MARGINS OF DEMOCRACY

Life under communism was a far cry from the auspicious pronouncements of

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