Go Girls!

Girls in Afghanistan. Photo: © 2012 Paul Bettings/World Vision

Girls in Afghanistan.
Photo: © 2012 Paul Bettings/World Vision

In the midst of so many great reasons to educate and empower girls, one stands out for me this morning. We need more women in the U.S. Congress – strong women, with great intentions. Rumor has it that a group of 20 women Senators, from both sides of the aisle, are already doing what I wish all of Congress would do – reaching across the aisle, creating understanding, and finding ways to work together. How are they doing this? Evidently, they are having dinners together to build relationships and understanding with each other in order to forge a win-win for all of us. I would like to send them a great big THANK YOU. I think I will.

For such a time as this, now more than ever, we need the particular strengths of women and girls for the good of all of us. At the risk of sounding chauvinistic, my experience globally and here in the U.S. is that women and girls are champions at creating caring collaboration to improve communities, whether in families, in civil society or in government. I would postulate it comes from a desire for win-win outcomes. We need more of the former and less “If I don’t win, I lose so I will do whatever it takes to win, especially if means you lose.” This seems to be the prevalent position in our Congress*.

On a global level, almost everyone agrees that investing in women and girls has immediate impact on the health and well-being of communities. But we forget, or maybe simply overlook, the importance of women’s roles in peace building. We need more women “at the table” of negotiations. Hilary Clinton has been an ardent champion of this as have former ambassador Melanne Verveer, former first lady Laura Bush with her Women’s and First Ladies Initiatives, authors and columnists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Queen Rania of Jordan and numerous others. Hats off to these and other amazing and diverse public champions for girls and women who are giving voice to such a positive global movement.

In order to take advantage of the gifts and strengths of girls, even in our own country, we must give them a chance to be “at the table.” Right now the greatest potential loss is missing our next brilliant global leader simply because she never had the opportunity to go to school. This we can fix. And thanks to a very courageous Pakistani girl named Malala and the film Girl Rising, we know what to do.

First of all, let us agree to pay attention to what is happening in our global neighborhood, raise our voices, and tell family, friends, and world leaders that all girls and boys need equal access to education. Malala has risked her life for girls’ education. Let’s stand with her and amplify her message. Secondly, find a time and place to watch the wonderful 10×10 production of Girl Rising – and take everyone you know with you. Our children need to see this! Do they understand how precious an education is to children around the world? Lastly, support organizations such as World Vision who are already active and working in communities to promote gender equity and to ensure that girls do get a chance go to school – and that it is a good education. And maybe, just maybe, if we work together, there will be less conflict in our world and in Congress!

For Strong Women, Strong World,
Cynthia Breilh
National Director, World Vision’s Women of Vision

*Note: Women hold only 17% of seats in Congress

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Carol Hoag says:

    Amen, Cynthia! I love this post. Steve Haas gave me your name when I met him at our church in Midland, MI yesterday. I found this post by searching on your name. I would enjoy talking to you about how we can help Women of Vision if you have time in the near future to discuss.

  2. Strong Women, Strong World says:

    Hi Carol,
    Jeannie from our team will be following up with you soon!
    Thanks, Mary

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