Just do it ;-)
Thanks in part to Nike, this video has seemingly brought my time here on Urgent Evoke full circle, which perhaps is only appropriate coming on a day that celebrates women and the circle of life. You see, the circle for me originated with the "following" of Greg Mortenson on twitter
for the first Evoke mission on social innovation, and now it ends with having followed his mission on the empowerment of women.
Only this is no ending. Rather, a beginning.
A beginning that starts with my mom, who told me several years ago, "You need to read this." That this
was Mortenson's first book Three Cups of Tea
, which was then followed by her and my dad supporting his humanitarian work through the Central Asia Institute
, sharing his new book Stones into Schools
, and telling me most recently about his talk nearby in Chicago speaking in part on peace through education
, an idea and truth that has profoundly affected me.
Of course this beginning starts even earlier with the support my parents have always shown for me as a writer and thinker in my own education. And how my mom has shown me the world of possibility that anyone is capable of, man or woman, and how my dad has demonstrated as a man how to treat all others rightfully and respectively.
It is sad, though, that this beginning starts with having to stress the value of girls. In this day and age, one would think it'd be a given; that something so inherent as one's value would need not be defended or stated. But that is not the case. Being a woman often carries with it a label of possession from the outer world; that a woman's value is solely tied into her relationship to a husband or child. So, to help break that illusion, here are some facts
of a different perception:
As Mortenson has signaled, the agent of change in the world are girls. And this starts with seeing women for who they are, not who we think they are:
This beginning is met with real challenges, though. In sorting through the WomenWatch
feed on the UN Gender Equality News site, 31 stories alone came up on gender issues in Afghanistan. Take this video as one example:
There is identifiably a need for change beyond just a vision. But how an end comes to visible and invisible opposing forces, I don't know--aside from patience, determination, and not standing down to the will of others. Joe Klein of Time magazine has written an insightful article
on such expected and unexpected challenges, and as Greg Mortenson has pointed out, it is books not bombs (as well as having the community invested
) that have done a better job of addressing those objections.
All in all, though, it is a beginning that I don't know where it'll end up. In my life and in the life of others. I would be interested in hearing from others below about the challenges your communities face and/or successes that have been had in relation to the education of women...