Help women hold up part of the sky…

I could not sleep last night{ ha, nothing unusual there….} so I finished Nicholas Kristof’s book_ Half the Sky_. I’m serious, y’all need to buy this book{ if you haven’t already} & read it.

My eyes were opened . I’m pretty well-read & aware of what transpires in our world, but this book proves that I, like most Americans, still need to educate myself more on the plight of people in other parts of the world.

More than half the world’s population are women & girls. Yet  so many societies turn a blind eye to the pleas of  abused & neglected girls & women. This angers me but at the same time I am eternally grateful  to have been born in the USA.

Girls need to be educated to the same level of boys. An educated society is a society that is better-off. After reading this book, I will never again complain about how much I hated high school. I’m so thankful to God that I was able to attain a free education up to   the 12th grade. I have a brother & we both were blessed with the brains & the means to go to college & { eventually} finish. While not everyone is college material, there is no excuse why  a free education  up to the 12th grade should not be provided for all.

Don’t get me started on what I think of the concept of ” honor killing’. As a Christian, I think that any taking of a human life is wrong, but especially evil when girls & women are killed for  reasons such as presumed promiscuity & not wishing to marry at the age of 13!

Forgive me, but I am * still* trying to wrap my mind around the ugliness of Islamic fundamentalism. I read the novel _A Thousand Splendid Suns_ with my parish’s Book Group last autumn & still am shocked by the treatment of  women in this particular culture. I am totally { & painfully} aware of my own faith’s  history of violence & my response to that is ” not all of us think as that group does”. So, I am trying hard to be open-minded when it comes to Islam. I thank the work of my hero in ” the biz” , Christiane Amanpour, for her committment to educating we CNN viewers on what really happens to everyday Middle Eastern Moslems. By the way, see ” Generation Islam” the next time CNN decides to replay it. Christiane’s work has helped me to  become a wee bit more understanding of the Moslem world.

A faction of Islam is misogynistic, but not all of them.

Aid workers need to understand the culture whom they are trying to help in order to achieve progress.

I think that programs which give women a chance to start & maintain their own small businesses is a step in the right direction. not only will this be helpful to them economically, but also personally. when women have their own means of support & need not depend on hand-outs  with which to feed their families, then the women also  develop self-esteem. My Church, The Episcopal Church, has an organization dedicated to providing needy  families in other parts of the world with a way & means to support themselves. Most of the aid from Episcopal Relief & Development www.ER-D.org  , goes to help  households  with women as the sole provider. Check it out.

Read the book & buy it for those you love this holiday season.

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