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Women: Changing the Fate of Our Global Future

Written by Tabby Biddle

I have always felt deep in my bones that peace in our world is possible. I have been doubted, challenged, laughed at and ridiculed for this belief.

There will always be wars, it’s human nature. I have heard this comment over and over through the years – most often from men. I have asked myself more often than not: “Is it really our nature to disregard and disrespect human life?”

I don’t believe it is.

History shows us that wars have been fought over religion, land, natural resources, and differing belief systems. Basically, a win/lose mindset that seems to stem from a fear-based, scarcity mentality. “If they have this, we won’t have this.” ‘If they win, we will lose.”

peaceI wonder if today it is possible for us to shift our global attitude to a win/win?

I think it is.

In order to rise to leadership positions, women used to think that they needed to emulate men. They used to think that they needed to deny their feminine nature in order to make it in a “man’s world.” Today, thank goodness, this old way of seeing things is changing.

This past weekend The New York Times dedicated its Magazine to look at how the liberation of women could help solve many of the world’s problems, including poverty, child mortality, and terrorism.

“In many parts of the world, women are routinely beaten, raped or sold into prostitution. They are denied access to medical care, education and economic and political power. Changing that could change everything.” – New York Times Magazine

One major way women are being liberated is through the assistance of microfinance organizations. These organizations lend tiny amounts of money to poor women around the world to help them start businesses.

WomeninPakistanOnce such organization is Kashf Foundation in Pakistan. Saima Muhammad, a Pakistani woman frequently beaten by her husband and brother-in-law and a mother of three daughters, took out a $65 loan from Kashf. She used the money to buy beads and cloth, which she transformed into embroidery that she then sold to merchants. She used the profits to buy more beads and cloth, and soon was running an embroidery business and earning a solid income. When merchants requested more embroidery than Saima could produce, she hired neighbors. Eventually she had 30 families working for her – providing income and opportunity for them, and is now planning on sending all three of her daughters to high school and maybe even college. The beatings by her husband have also been reduced.

The question has been asked — why do microfinance organizations usually focus their assistance on women?

“One reason involves the dirty little secret of global poverty: some of the most wretched suffering is caused not just by low incomes but also unwise spending by the poor – especially by men. Surprisingly frequently, we’ve come across a mother mourning a child who has just dies of malaria for want of a $5 mosquito bed net; the mother says that the family couldn’t afford a bed net and she means it, but then we find the father at a nearby bar. He goes three evenings a week to the bar, spending $5 each week.” –  Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, authors of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

The point here is that when a woman is offered the possibility of running a business and making money, the income goes back into the well-being of the family and the community.

“Seventy percent of people living in poverty around the world are women and WomensFundingNetworkchildren. If women have a roof over their heads and a home free of violence, and good and affordable health care, then so do children … Women are the conduits through which change is made,” says Christine Grumm, president and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network.

So how does this all fit into my peace plan?

As more and more women and girls are given opportunity and respect — as opposed to being killed for being born a daughter (China and India), burned for not providing a large enough dowry (India), raped (everywhere), trafficked (Asia), and genitally mutilated (Africa), there is real possibility for bringing balance back to our world.

Although I would agree that humans are competitive by nature, I do not believe that we will always have to live with war. A new attention and respect for girls and women around the world will wake up what I believe is our ultimate human nature … that’s love.

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Tabby Biddle is a writer and editor specializing in helping women entrepreneurs and emerging authors get their message out. Additionally she is the founder of Lotus Blossom Style, a yoga lifestyle company created to support women in their personal transformation. She lives in Santa Monica, CA.

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5 Responses to Women: Changing the Fate of Our Global Future

  1. docuguy August 27, 2009 at 9:44 pm #

    Tabby, this is an inspiring post that links together many ideas and communicates the clear idea that funding women will change the world.

  2. Tabby Biddle August 27, 2009 at 10:14 pm #

    Thank you docuguy.

  3. Karen Tate August 28, 2009 at 12:11 am #

    And we must remember, as I said on my radio show, that while these articles described atrocities happening around the world, women right here at home are victims of oppression – domestic violence, inequality, supression, sexism. Women aren’t just suffereng at the hand of a clenched fist. They are suffering at the hand of patriarchal religions. Some are even victims of their own lack of awareness of their own subjugation because they’ve been conditioned to believe the role they have, being second to men, rather than equal, is where they belong.

  4. Tabby Biddle August 28, 2009 at 8:34 am #

    Thanks Karen. This is so true. There is a lot to be said for what is going on here at home. I appreciate the work you are doing through your books and your radio show to help bring awareness — which is always the first step toward change. Are there ways you suggest for people to help women and girls here at home?

    Thanks,
    Tabby

  5. Karen Tate August 28, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    Hi Tabby,

    There are so many ways….

    - Support a woman’s right to choose
    - Support battered women’s shelter
    - Encourage learning about women’s sacred blood, menarche, menses so we might embrace our power and life force instead of having a negative relationship with it that patriarchy has helped to program into women
    - Learn about women’s history
    - Learn about women’s oppression
    - Learn about feminism as it was really meant to be – about a caring culture, not man bashing, not man hating
    - Fight for women’s equality
    - Support women’s leadership in academia, politics, religious institutions
    - Help organizations that are working in the US to ban female genital mutilation and see what one can do to encourage legislation to have meaningful ways to stop human trafficking
    - Actively speak out against any situation that encourages a woman to tolerate abuse or subjugation at home, in their religious community or in the workplace, including unequal pay for equal work
    - Be aware of sexism when it rears it’s head and don’t tolerate it
    - Speak out

    We get the idea these things happening to women are just in other parts of the world but right here at home women are unaware of their own suppression – like birds in a cage. They just think they’re free and equal.

    Karen

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