Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Educate Women, Save the World

Today is International Women's Day so I thought I would take the opportunity to mention a few inspirational women, their impact on the world and the need to continue in their footsteps.

When discussing influencial women, we often hear the names of such heroines as Marie Curie, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony or more contemporary women like Sandra Day O'Connor , Sally Ride or Madeline Albright.  I would like to mention some amazing women of whom you might not be aware:

Maria Agnesi (1718 - 1799) - Wrote the first math book by a woman and became the first female math professor at a university.

Emily Davies (1830 - 1921) - Founded Girton College, Cambridge University, the first college in England to educate women.

Elizabeth Blackwell - In 1849, became the first woman in the United States to hold a Medical Degree.

Raden Adjeng Kartini (1879 - 1904) - Advocated for women's rights in Indonesia and vocally criticized the lack of education for women.

Begum Ramayana Liaquat Ali Khan (1905 - 1990) - Pakistani activist who organized a women's nursing and first aid corp despite intense pressure against women working outside the home.  Also arranged a women's conference which resulted in the formation of the All Pakistan Women's Association, an organization for the educational, social and cultural betterment of women.

All of these women have one thing in common: they fought for education for women.  In today's western world we often take women's education for granted.  Unfortunately, this is not yet the norm in other cultures where women are still heavily oppressed and are kept from working outside of their home.  What many may not realize is that the oppression of these women affects all of us, world-wide.

Poverty in developing countries contributes to deforestation and habitat destruction for many species, the tragedy of human trafficking, the spread of diseases and over-population on a planet with finite resources.
Educating women is the single most important step to lifting people out of poverty.  Per Wikipedia:

" Empowering women has helped some countries increase and sustain economic development. When given more rights and opportunities women begin to receive more education, thus increasing the overall human capital of the country; when given more influence women seem to act more responsibly in helping people in the family or village; and when better educated and more in control of their lives, women are more successful in bringing down rapid population growth because they have more say in family planning."
Educate women, save the world!

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