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The Cause of Our Time

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Today's New York Times Magazine is devoted to placing attention on ways to liberate women:  

". . . the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe:  sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings, and mass rape" (28).  Why is it so important to place our attention on women throughout the world?  A country cannot survive let alone thrive financially, psychologically, sociologically if half its population is continually persecuted or disappearing.  Every time a woman is abused, she is less likely to realize her full potential, to live a productive and enriched life and therefore, less likely to contribute to the world around her.  

"'Women hold up half the sky,' in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that's mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it's not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos.  There's a growing recognition among everyone from the World Bank to the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism.  That's why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women.  The world is awakening to a powerful truth:  Women and girls aren't the problem; they're the solution." (28)

Various organizations are working toward assisting women and we can easily, with a click of our computer mouse, read about them and contribute to their efforts.  We don't have to drop everything and move somewhere. kiva.org is an excellent organization that supports women-owned and women-run businesses.  GlobalGiving is another organization which includes "a program to prevent runaway girls from being trafficked into brothels (38)."  

Violence against women is present everywhere:  in our communities and at our borders.  In Lincoln, The Friendship Home, is a non-profit organization which assists battered women. They are a wonderful organization, helping hundreds of women and they always welcome donations. We can also read literature that will help us further understand specific areas and problems. Again in Lincoln, Nebraska, author and psychologist Mary Pipher has written two books, one regarding young girls growing up in the U.S., Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls and another focusing on Lincoln's refugee population, The Middle of Everywhere.  Chicana writer, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, in her novel, Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders, has brought attention to the over 500 brutally murdered and disappeared women in Juarez (just across the El Paso border) as has Roberto Bolaño in his novel 2666.  The situation for women in the twenty-first century, is, as this article points out, our "paramount moral challenge."  

In my previous blog entry, I wrote about my tia Chata--whose conflicting ideas about women and race actually prompted me to lead a life of inquiry.  Tia Chata was a victim of abuse, a victim of racism, and did not have the education or wherewithall to understand her own complicity in this web of power relations.  Yet she knew and told me I could do anything and that if I was educated, I would understand the things she told me she couldn't. If in this twenty-first century we can succeed in ending violence against women, succeed in educating women, maybe women will indeed, in the words of the Chinese, be able to "hold up half the sky" and we will all be liberated.  

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