Monday, November 3, 2008

The Girl Effect

Adam directed me to a YouTube video called "The Girl Effect". It is a well-made "awareness" spot on the potential world-changing implications of improving  the opportunities, and hence lives, of young girls.

There is certainly a good deal of evidence that suggests maternal education is a strong predictor of children's health. I think this video is particularly insightful in that it does not stop with educating of girls, but insists on conditions in which women can prosper from that education: start a business, make money, have a political voice, influence social norms. Thus, reaching out to girls can have long-lasting effects on not only her family, but also the society in which she lives. 

What do the men think of all this?

1 comment:

stevie6g said...

Here, is a common sense solution to many problems in the world. We can all see that giving females this sort of opportunity around the world is great, and I agree that women should be given the same opportunities as men.

However, I have to say that, it is not the only solution, what needs to be said is that giving a woman an opportunity is not the only thing that's going to help. Whether you want to admit it or not, Men and Women are not equal beings, that's not me saying they shouldn't be treated equally. We just each have different innate qualities, that's what makes us a great balance, and a great species.

What I feel would need to happen in order for these women to ACTUALLY be given these opportunities without the threat that men would just take it away from them through force, is that men need to be educated about themselves, and women. This is the problem I have with men, the majority do not know themselves well enough to understand women and what they need from men. Conversely it seems that women have become so distrusting of men, that they need to also understand what men need from them, this, though, can only come from a man's willingness to admit that he doesn't have all the answers, which will, admittedly, be quite the awesome task.

We in the "Free world" understand that women are very valuable, and are capable and competent, and can accomplish tasks set in front of them. We learned this during World War II, when our Mothers(or Grandmothers/Great-Grandmothers, if we're putting it into a time context), were tasked to help with production for the War and performed incredibly. We then learned more through the feminist movement that proliferated because of the work that our women accomplished during that time(the war).

What we didn't see though, is that during these years, a shift occurred, making women the more dominant gender in our society, this dealt a huge blow to the self esteem of men in general(though an argument can be made that it wasn't very high in the first place). Sure, men still occupy more seats in government, and we're stronger physically, but, What has happened though, is that women have taken the confidence of men away on a large scale,( I feel I can speak for this generation anyway). Not that this is the fault of the woman, it is not at all, it is more an evolution for the species if we think about it.

For thousands of years men had suppressed the rights of women and claimed them as possessions, maltreated them, and some tribes have even gone so far as to cut out the clitoris of women to lessen sexual pleasure so the woman stays "faithful" to them, this was an obvious esteem issue for the men, the issues have always been here. Esteem issues, and ego, have always been at the core of human suffering. As a result of these atrocities perpetuated on women by men, women have gained a healthy distrust of men over the centuries.

But, Women gained Esteem from the war, because they showed on a large scale what they were capable of, what they'd known all along, That(paraphrase!)"They can do it!" Sustaining this notion throughout the last 60-70 years has really been a mental evolution for women.

What I feel needs to happen is men need to mentally evolve along with women. At the same time women need to understand how to work alongside men and trust them again, so that we can reach our full potential as a species. If we are equal in our esteem for ourselves, meaning if men and women understand and know themselves and know they truly have worth, and truly love themselves, there is nothing we cannot achieve as humans.

What worries me is that Motherhood, strike that, Parenthood, for the most part in this country seems to be going by the wayside, because of these esteem issues. We have to look at our country as a precursor to implementing this plan in other countries. Many parents, or maybe even people in general, are so wrapped up in their careers and seeking external validation, instead of looking inward, and finding esteem and validation within themselves. It is my feeling that you cannot be a truly effective parent if you do not have your self esteem handled. What happens with these career validation seekers is that they aren't mother or father enough to their children, because they're not comfortable enough with themselves on the inside. What is absolutely true is that every child needs a mother, and every mother needs a child. It is the way our species is designed. Just as a boy needs a man to teach him to be a man, a girl needs a woman to teach her to be a woman. Its hard to learn how to be a man or woman when parents are not around to show this. I can attest to this personally, studies needn't be done :). I feel that men and women need to realize that if they want to be completely involved in their careers then IDEALLY, they should not have a child until they are established and can afford to sacrifice the TIME, and ATTENTION, and MONEY, that a child needs. This is how we will evolve as humans, this is how we will further our capabilities, and change the future.

People need to know and love themselves first, then they're free to have compassion for others. Everything else will then take care of itself.

Anyway, that's what I think. And that's what I'm working toward. And I will confidently call myself a MAN.