Sally Armstrong to Speak at JFM Luncheon on April 13 - Acclaimed Journalist Shines a Light on Human Rights

by Stu Slayen | Mar 02, 2018
She has interviewed ISIS militants face-to-face. She was the first journalist to tell the story of the oppression of women in Afghanistan. She uncovered the systemic sexual assault of thousands of women in war-torn former Yugoslavia. She has witnessed the devastation of the Yazidi community in northern Iraq.

Sally Armstrong has had a front row seat to some of the most heinous human rights abuses of the last 40 years. Still, the acclaimed Toronto-based journalist sees reason for hope and optimism.

“The earth is shifting under the status of women; we’re not at the finish line—not by a long shot,” says Armstrong, “but a new age is dawning even in some of the countries where women’s rights are terribly oppressed.”

This is the message of Sally Armstrong. And this is the kindling that keeps her journalistic fires burning.

“I just returned from an assignment in Afghanistan, and despite the truly worrisome security issues—suicide bombers and attacks on public places—life for Afghans is actually improving,” says Armstrong, author of Ascent of Women. “Life
expectancy has jumped from 47 to 62 years and 9.2 million kids are back in school, including girls who were previously excluded. Polio is almost eradicated and maternal mortality has dropped by 75 per cent.”

As a journalist, she covers zones of conflict; her beat is to find out what happens to women and girls. She recently wrote a feature article called “Resisting Genocide” that chronicled the catastrophe faced by the Yazidi people in Iraq.

And she is well aware of the important work of Winnipeg’s Operation Ezra and a similar initiative in Toronto to help Yazidi refugees resettle in Canada. She notes, though, that there are still 450,000 displaced Yazidis in Iraq, and most simply want to go home to Shingal Mountain from where they were expelled by ISIS.

“I think Canada has a role to play,” says Armstrong. “There are specific interventions we could make to improve the lives of Yazidis.”

She will share these ideas at the Jewish Foundation Luncheon in support of the Women’s Endowment Fund on April 13, along with some surprising stories about the status of women worldwide and the #MeToo campaign.

“I think we are living in transformative times,” she says. “We are seeing important changes everywhere.”