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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: The Fastest Way To Change the World is To Educate a Girl


Thought for the Day: I saw a quote on Facebook yesterday which said that "Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world. Nelson Mandela." I thought about using it for today's post. However, this morning I awoke with my own quote which must have been inspired by what I read yesterday: "The fastest way to change the world, is to educate a girl." 
      My grandmother grew up in small town in Russia. At the time, only boys were sent to school. She was fortunate that her parents believed in education and allowed her and her sisters to learn to read and write. She would sit at the back of the boys' class in order to take part in the lessons. After coming to America she continued to learn throughout her life. It is not surprising, that my mother not only went to college, but also became a lawyer at a time when there were next to no women in the legal profession. My mother and grandmother's examples helped me to follow in their footsteps to attain higher education. The pattern, however, is more significant than my family's history. It reflects a revolution in the history of mankind, or should I say womankind. It may be the greatest change our world has seen, giving us hope for the survival of mankind. This may sound like hyperbole, but I mean it with sincerity. 
       Much has been written about the differences in how men and women view the world. From the self help psychology books like Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus by JohnGray to the academic work, In A Different Voice, by Carol Gilligan. Women tend to think and speak differently from men on ethical issues focusing more on relationships and caring. 
       Women's liberation represents more than just a means to reach financial equality and independence. The more education women gain, the more they will be able to influence the world both economically and politically. Women's unique thought process and view of the world has already lead to major accomplishments. The impact of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is just one example of how educated women's efforts have paid off in raising awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and changing the laws to enforce stricter controls and penalties for driving while intoxicated.
       Hopefully, the feminine perspective combined with masculine ones, will help mankind find alternatives to war, solutions to world hunger and poverty, through cooperation and compromise. Women like Melinda Gates, Indirah GhandiHillary ClintonOprah Winfrey are examples of educated women making a difference in the world. Educated women's power goes beyond the  political and economic sphere. Since they are also influential in the education of their sons and husbands, as well as their daughters, educated women are capable of changing society from the ground up.

       The educational revolution's inclusion of women may be the most significant change of our century. My grandmother would be proud to see how far women have come even though there is still a lot that needs to be done by women.

       Last night I learned that Nelson Mandela passed away. His wisdom will live on. It is ironic that I mentioned his quote just yesterday. May he rest in peace.
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