Towanda! A familiar phrase of women empowerment from the film "Fried Green Tomatoes" (great movie but not funny as my tongan friends can attest to). Well today I used that phrase as I finished a powerful book on the oppression of women world wide called "Half the Sky". The authors write bluntly about the stories of women they encountered world wide who face challenges unfathomable to me and my cushy life style. It is not a happy read either but a hopeful, enlightening, and most importantly an empowering read. It addresses issues of maternal mortality, human trafficking, sexual violence, and gender discrimination. It also talks about what tools need to be implemented to combat these, what seem impossible tasks to tackle, through education, family planning, microfinance, etc!
To be honest it was overwhelming reading this book, going through stages of guilt, and helplessness.I just wanted to jump on a plane and go help people somewhere! The problems are so complex and need creative and cultural sensitive solutions. They won't solve everything but there are solutions. It was an eye opening read though and maybe I am not going to save the world right now but I can make small contributions. For me that starts with the here and now of people around me whom I fail to care for enough. We need to help each other. (plug for visiting teaching really)
The book also gave me so many ideas of how I can help humanity and how any one can overcome their circumstances. We are not limited in our potential. In many places through out the world women are neglected, unequal, or merely seen as sexual playthings, but Women are powerful assets to society and the contributions they make can change it for the better. And they do by overcoming the most dire of circumstances!
I would bore you with more insights but just go read the book it will change your life and maybe you will help change thousands of other women's lives because it made you want to act. If you think you aren't going to read it then at least consider on some things you can do to help right now!
Websites to check out:
Sponsor a girl or woman through Plan international, or Women for Women international.
Sign up for email updates on about women's issues at http://womensenews.org/