Half the Sky is a book I read and now a PBS four-hour special, part of which I happened to catch yesterday.
It imagines a new world order where the mega-millions of girls who are prevented from education around the world are empowered for access to education. The people on the front lines of this effort for change are doing something that must feel like the Greek myth of Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a hill each day only to watch it fall back down. Yet they persist.
Watching the videos of day to day violence toward and suppression of girls/women’s innate contributions worldwide is enough to bring anyone with a single heart cell to tears, but I found especially moving a clip where a father in Vietnam supports his 14-year-old daughter’s education, even if it means losing a day’s wages at his factory to travel hours to parent meetings so he can support her. He states even though his daughter needs to run the household after his wife died, while he works away from home during the week, the only way for his children not to live in such dire poverty is education. These are heroic acts, as heroic as the people trying to provide the education.
Months ago when I started reading Half the Sky (I’m a slow reader lately), my daughter asked me what it was about, so I told her how in many places, to walk to school every day is a freedom few girls have, and in some cultures for a parent even to have a girl is a source of shame. She was shocked to hear about the treatment of girls in many parts of the world and said “Without girls there would be no people on the planet. What are people thinking?”
Can you imagine what changes would happen when every girl becomes a woman that knows her own value, strengths, and gifts to contribute to her fellow humans? All I know is the problems we face on earth need all of us solving them.