Could it be that a key to fighting terrorism is to educate women?
Oprah recently did a show on the topic and it was both moving and thought provoking. In the past, I’ve always tuned out coverage of the atrocities women face in developing countries because it was too horrible for me to hear about it when there was nothing I could do. Something about this particular show and the teaser about a link between women’s education and terrorism drew me in. I was awed by the hope in this piece.
Through the profiles on Oprah’s show of women in Africa where rape is used as a weapon and women in India where male oppression suffocates and objectifies females as rule, there are women who emerge as heroes. With only small assistance, many women emerge as survivors and leaders. I learned that when one woman is educated, she teaches her community. Additionally, I was intrigued by the concept of how small loans, called micro loans, often as little as $65 could change lives.
Perhaps these problems I thought were hopeless are solvable, however. Many of these women are not people to pity, but to admire. Despite relentless oppression and abuse, these women persevere. Investing in the education and health of women worldwide is the key to making a difference. Change happens on the local level.
An August New York Time’s article entitled Saving the World’s Women: The Women’s Crusade focused on the connection between educating women and fighting terrorism. While many have argued that Islamic teachings have encouraged and justified the disproportionate amount of terrorism in Muslim countries, a closer look reveals that a lack of female education and lack of female participation in the labor force are the common factors. Male dominated cultures create a breeding ground in which terrorism flourishes. Empowering women helps to stop the spread of terrorism.
As a woman and a teacher, I find this prospect most exciting.