Women Are Our Hope

From OneWorld.Net: Focus U.S. Aid Efforts on Women, Say Experts
“Yolanda Richardson, president of the Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), told Hill staffers and others that implementing policies that recognize the vital role women play in poor communities is the best way to ‘improve the quality and effectiveness of our global development assistance.’ ”
“CEDPA’s Richardson agrees with those calling for a new approach to foreign aid, but is convinced that unless new policies and strategies place a special focus on women, they will fail to address the very basic issue of poverty reduction in developing countries.”

In a previous post I highlighted a wonderful project, The Girl Effect.

Check out the links above but, in brief, the post and the project have one central premise: if we want to aid the future of our global civilization, the most effective way is to aid young women.

There’s really no way around that clear truth. Women are the first educators, possibly beginning in the womb. What can a woman teach her child about how to get along in the world if the woman has multiple barriers to her own way in the world?

Barriers like:

» not enough to eat
» no personal security
» lack of money
» no opportunity to earn money
» no input to local decisions

I understand that many men suffer the same oppressive circumstances, yet the toll on our human family and its civilization is much greater when women are held back.

Imagine: a man suffers oppression and can’t contribute to society.
Imagine: a woman suffers oppression, has babies, and has no chance to help them learn the rudiments of more than a squalid existence.

Which scenario hurts all of us more?

Here are three pertinent documents you can download:
Women and Development
The Girl Child
Women and The Peace Process

“Women have equal rights with men upon earth; in religion and society they are a very important element. As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 133

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A Woman’s Bravery . . .

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Bushra Jamil

Winner of the Ida B. Wells Award
for Bravery in Journalism

Women’s e-News Video of the Presentation

From the OneWorld.Net story From Baghdad With Love:

“Former teacher Bushra Jamil returned to Iraq in 2003 to start the country’s first progressive radio station for women, which has flourished over the years despite the constant threat of violence and government opposition.


• Radio Al-Mahaba is the first radio station in Iraq designed for and by women.
• The station is credited with reaching out to and connecting women from all walks of life.
• Jamil has been commended with several congressional and journalism awards for her efforts.

“In Baghdad right now, refrigerators, electric stoves, heaters, air conditioners, televisions, and computers operate for one or two hours on a good day. There are plenty of days when it isn’t safe to go outside to shop or work or visit neighbors. And even when there’s light to read, Iraqi sources estimate that as many as 75% of women in Iraq are illiterate—a rate that has grown steadily over the past 10 years of warfare and civil strife. Here and in the rest of Iraq, people count on transistor radios for news and entertainment, to lift their spirits and to let them know what’s happening in the world….

“The station sees its mission as ‘contributing to the establishment of a secular democratic society where all are equally treated and their rights are protected by law… and as joining Iraqis with love, kinship, commitment, respect, and most important, cumulative knowledge.’ In an NPR interview, Jamil gave one small example of how that works in practice. ‘On our legal program, a woman called crying because her husband beat her. She had children and no job, and didn’t know how she could get by without him.’ The next caller and the one after that both asked the host to pass their numbers on to the first, so they could share experience and support.”