The Girl Effect, Revisited . . .

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Both images (the same person) are from National Geographic. The one on the left taken in 1984, the right in 2002, in Afghanistan.

The woman was interviewed in 2002. Here’s an excerpt:

Had she ever felt safe?

“No. But life under the Taliban was better. At least there was peace and order.”

Had she ever seen the photograph of herself as a girl?

“No.”

She can write her name, but cannot read. She harbors the hope of education for her children. “I want my daughters to have skills,” she said. “I wanted to finish school but could not. I was sorry when I had to leave.”

Education, it is said, is the light in the eye. There is no such light for her. It is possibly too late for her 13-year-old daughter as well, Sharbat Gula said. The two younger daughters still have a chance.

This is a story repeated far too often in our world but there is strong reason for hope!

One among many reasons for hope is a site called The Girl Effect and I can’t urge you strongly enough to click that link and at least watch the really awesome video !

Here is a PDF file of their Fact Sheet and here’s an excerpt from that Fact Sheet:

The Ripple Effect

• When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.

• An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.

• Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.

• When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

Population Trends
• Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world.

Girls Count !

Here are two videos from their site:

Spiritual Quotes:
“The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 288<

“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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Path Toward Peace – Step Seven

equality of sexes

Eliminating the denial of the equality of women & men


If you’re a man, do you treat women as complete and full equals?

I you’re a woman, are you willing to help men understand the benefit to themselves  of treating women as equals?

From the Champaign, IL, News Gazette: Normal school district named in sex abuse lawsuit

From the Macau Daily Times: Vietnam women break silence on domestic violence

From the Turkish Daily News: Women launch campaign to ensure gender equality in politics

Most people are aware of the issue of equality of the sexes. Many are striving to attain a consciousness of total equality; yet, many still harbor attitudes that perpetuate disunity, though attempting to act as if they support equality. Some still blatantly proclaim that men and women never were and never will be equal.

Until a person knows in their heart that women are just as capable, just as intelligent, just as human as men, that person will contribute to an evil that cripples humanity…

I mentioned women helping men understand the self-benefit of achieving equality. There is a document that spells out the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality. Perhaps women could read it and pass it on to the men in their lives. Perhaps a dialogue could ensue.

Perhaps I’m dreaming…

Well… Yes! I’m dreaming a dream of Reality—the fact that men and women are equal even when human actions attempt to thwart that unity.

Spiritual Quotes:

“In this Day the Hand of divine grace hath removed all distinction. The servants of God and His handmaidens are regarded on the same plane. Blessed is the servant who hath attained unto that which God hath decreed, and likewise the leaf moving in accordance with the breezes of His will. This favour is great and this station lofty.”
Adib Taherzadeh, quoting Bahá’u’lláh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 4, p. 200

“Divine Justice demands that the rights of both sexes should be equally respected since neither is superior to the other in the eyes of Heaven. Dignity before God depends, not on sex, but on purity and luminosity of heart. Human virtues belong equally to all!”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 162

“The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes, is one of the most important, though less acknowledged pre-requisites of peace. The denial of such equality perpetrates an injustice against one half of the world’s population and promotes in men harmful attitudes and habits that are carried from the family to the workplace, to political life, and ultimately to international relations. There are no grounds, moral, practical, or biological, upon which such denial can be justified. Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavour will the moral and psychological climate be created in which international peace can emerge.”
The Universal House of Justice, Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 618

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Naked In Eden

Robin Easton

Robin Easton: Author . Speaker . Environmentalist . Musician . Adventurer

Today I honor women by honoring a woman–that’s how it starts: honor the ones you know and it spreads–a sea of acceptance and support.

I published the major portion of this post back in April but I’ll lead with a few fresh news items:

From Cleveland Indy Media Center: Towards Women’s Liberation

From the Rebel Yell: Self respect is crucial for women’s equality

From the American Thinker: They Hanged Her for Teaching Love

I’ve done, as a man, many things “only” women do: cry, have deep concerns, love flowers, hug trees, and leave my ego behind to relate to children…

Robin Easton, as a woman, does many things “only” men do . . .

Here’s the link to her blog.

Check out her Immense Spirit !!!

“Ere long the days shall come when the men addressing the women, shall say: ‘Blessed are ye! Blessed are ye! Verily ye are worthy of every gift. Verily ye deserve to adorn your heads with the crown of everlasting glory, because in sciences and arts, in virtues and perfections ye shall become equal to man, and as regards tenderness of heart and the abundance of mercy and sympathy ye are superior’.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 182

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The Potency of Creative Women

In spite of all the persecution they’ve suffered, women continue to have an inherent resilience that’s of great importance to our sad, sick world.

Film is one of the most powerful creative arts. In this arena, we can see the same pattern of persecution followed by a rebounding strength:

From Wikipedia: Women’s cinema “Alice Guy-Blaché made the very first feature film La fée aux choux in 1896.”

From Traction: 2007 Celluloid Ceiling Report “Women accounted for 6% of directors in 2007, a decline of one percentage point since 2006. This figure is almost half the percentage of women directors working in 2000 when women accounted for 11% of all directors.”

From Women In The Director’s Chair: Film & Entertainment Industry Facts “There are 39 film festivals solely dedicated to showing the work of women directors throughout the world.”

I want to introduce you to two short films made by young women—resilient, potent, strong women.

As a man, I’ve learned to realize the critical importance of women, not just in film but in all walks of life, from being the first educators of children to being the leaders of a new culture of fairness and justice.

So, without further ado, Indymedia Presents, in cooperation with OurMedia and ReelGrrls, Two Films: one serious, one shocking.

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“The progress of humanity depends on men and women working together; therefore, both must be equally developed. Women, given equal opportunities for education, have already proven to be the equals of men in intellectual and creative capacity. Men must encourage and facilitate the full development of women, as women must support men in their development towards this new condition of society.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1993 Mar 15, Women and the Peace Process

Here’s the full document, written to the 37th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

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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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Women . . .

SpacePlasma

For far too long, women have been irreverenced by men:
When she was still a child her father selected a teacher for her and she studied various branches of knowledge and the arts, achieving remarkable ability in literary pursuits. Such was the degree of her scholarship and attainments that her father would often express his regret, saying, “Would that she had been a boy, for he would have shed illumination upon my household, and would have succeeded me!”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 191

Here’s a bit of Truth for those who may use Scripture to attempt a suppression of women:
In the Kingdom of God, there is no difference between the men and the women; both are considered alike—only the one who works the hardest surpasses the other. In the time of Christ, women were the great agents in spreading the Kingdom. The disciples would not have been confirmed if it had not been for them—Peter would not have been strengthened. In cultivating a garden, it makes no difference whether the gardener is a man or a woman—but if the woman works hard and takes care of the plants, she will certainly have a better reward than the man who idles.
Compilations, Baha’i Prayers 9, p. 55


Often various traditions hinder the health and well-being of girls and women:
Statement to the Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Agenda item: Women in development

In the view of the Bahá’í International Community, the advancement of civilization now requires the full participation of everyone, including women. For this to happen, girl children as well as boy children must be valued by their families and by society. We share UNICEF’s distress at the blatant neglect of girl children, justified in many parts of the world as part of the culture. We concur with the recommendation, set forth in the Progress report on achievements made in the implementation of UNICEF policy on women in development (E/ICEF/1991/L.5), that UNICEF broaden its approach to maternal health to include an attempt to alter factors that affect girl’s and women’s health before maternity, including harmful traditional attitudes and practices.
Baha’i International Community, 1991 Apr 22, Girl Child

Some may violently disagree with the next quote but this blog does try to focus on spirituality:

As long as the desire, however small, of a man for women is not destroyed, so long is his mind attached, like a sucking calf is to its mother. Cut out the love of self, like an autumn lotus, with your hand. Cherish the path of peace. Nirvana has been shown by the Buddha.
Buddhist, Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha 2 (tr. J. Richards)

And, in closing, a poet revered by the spiritually-minded:

Love and tenderness are qualities of humanity,
Passion and lust are qualities of animality.
Woman is a ray of God, not a mere mistress,
The Creator’s self, as it were, not a mere creature!

Mathnavi of Rumi (E.H. Whinfield tr), The Masnavi , Vol 1

Big Green Purse ~ A Book & A Crusade

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What realizes and promotes the fact that 85 cents of every dollar spent in the marketplace is spent by a woman and that big business responds faster to consumer demand than any other market force?

Answer:

Grist, an environmental journalism site, has a compelling article on the book Big Green Purse and its author, Diane MacEachern, a longtime conservationist.

Just a few Q&As from the riveting interview:

question There’s this notion out there that you can save the world by buying all this stuff — as long as it’s green.

answer In every single chapter, the very first suggestion is buy less, consume less, reduce — clearly we have to cut back on the total amount of stuff that’s being produced. But I do think that being a conscious consumer is a very powerful tool, because consumer dollars are the lifeblood of manufacturers. So we can either use them to tell manufacturers what to make or we can just continue to let manufacturers tell us what to buy.

question Do you feel like environmentalists have been too quick to dismiss shopping as a route to change?

answer I think that the power of green consumerism has not been harnessed by the environmental movement. You’ve got all kinds of companies wanting to be green and natural and eco-friendly, and you’ve got the environmental movement saying, “Whatever you do, don’t buy anything.” … The light bulbs are a perfect example … people have to change their light bulbs anyway, so why not buy the option that makes the most sense? If you have people sit in the dark, that’s literally a turn-off.

question Does your book address the challenges of buying green on a budget?

answer First of all, there’s so much cushion in people’s budget that they don’t realize. People will say to me, “I can’t buy organic; it’s too expensive,” and then I look in their refrigerator and it’s full of bottled water. They may be spending $10 to $15 a week on bottled water, but they don’t want to spend $6 for a gallon of organic milk.

question How can the environmental movement change its message to be more effective?
answer I do think some groups are doing a pretty good job in starting to provide information … but now I think the next step is to start getting the message out to people who aren’t necessarily in the environmental community. We don’t need to talk to other environmentalists; we need to talk to garden clubs and women’s clubs and church groups and all these people who are not as fully aware of what the opportunity is.

What would be great is if Safeway would put an environmental spokesperson in the store. “On Saturday, as you’re coming through the store, there’s going to be these five people wearing green vests, and if you have any questions about green shopping, you can ask them.” Wouldn’t that be fabulous?

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~ Unleash The Life Within ~
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