“Women hold up half the sky,” reads an old Chinese saying. Indeed, women have traditionally been the world’s farmers, child bearers, and caretakers – the backbone of families and societies. And yet, women continue to suffer from gender discrimination in much of the world. This second-class citizenship is detrimental first and foremost to the well-being of women themselves, and is also a major obstacle to advancing economic development, reducing poverty and achieving environmentally sustainable societies.
Dr. Joyce Banda, the former President of Malawi and a Distinguished Fellow at the Wilson Center’s Africa Program, recently spoke about her toolkit From Day One: An Agenda for Advancing Women Leaders in Africa. Her toolkit’s foundation rests on income, girl’s education, maternal health and HIV/AIDS, and leadership. These four pillars support her main mission of creating equality and parity for women.
Share My Lesson now offers a collection of resources that focus on girls’ education and gender equality. The lesson sharing site asked PopEd for resources that underscore the importance of these topics and others relating to the status of women, and we were happy to oblige. As a content provider for Share My Lesson, we highlighted the following three Population Education lesson plans:
Of the nearly one billion adults who cannot read, 70 percent of them are women. Many societies around the world do not place an emphasis on educating girls or even allow girls to go to school. No education and being unable to read severely limits a girl’s future economic and employment opportunities. The activity, Lessons for Life is a great way to show middle school students that equal education is key for a country’s future development, in more ways than one.
What’s the worst nightmare of fundamentalist extremists? For militant groups like Boko Haram or the Afghan Taliban, it isn’t missile-firing drones but educated girls. In his Mother’s Day column last week, “What’s So Scary About Smart Girls?” New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof eloquently explained the power of educating girls. For one thing, it brings down birth rates, diffusing the “youth bulge” which so often leads to high unemployment and civil strife.