Atlanta (CNN) Jimmy Carter has seen a lot in his 90 years.
As a son of the South, a governor and president, and as a man who spent decades tackling problems head-on, he knows the world is not perfect. It has too many people without a voice and without hope, too many examples of suffering and injustice.
There are so many wrongs to right. Yet among them, Carter is putting one ahead of all others: Violence and injustice against girls and women.
“This is going to be the highest priority for the rest of my life,” he said this week.
He’s doing it at the urging of wife, Rosalynn, and for his daughter, three granddaughters and five great-granddaughters. He says he wants them to have the same opportunities and security that men do
He’s doing it for the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria, for those who have become ISIS militants’ sex slaves and for girls everywhere who can’t go to school. He’s doing it for the estimated 160 million babies aborted or killed at birth in Asia in recent decades because they were not boys. He’s doing it for American college co-eds and women in the military who suffer rape and see the men responsible walk free.
Carter also is doing it because of women he has met from places like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Some can’t go home due to the taboos and dangers facing them in male-dominated societies. Others go anyway, risking their lives.
“They’re the heroes,” the former President says. “And they inspire me.”