Füsun A.



Montréal, CANADA
January 12
Freelance Writer - jack of all genres;master of none.
warm and genuine
I divorced my full time career of teaching after 25 years, because meanwhile I fell in love with freelance writing. Ever since, I decided to legitimize my ten-year fling which started in the new millennium. Author of: "WILL OF MY OWN - A Memoir" Available at all major book outlets. For a preview please visit: http://www.dictionmatters.com/


MARCH 8, 2012 8:49AM

Education is the way

Rate: 65 Flag


Afghanistan school girls - photo by Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Since the first International Women's Day in 1900 Women's rights have come a long way in securing votes for women, opening up access to male-only professions, and criminalising domestic violence and rape in the UK. The world is unquestionably better for many women than it was a century ago, but there are still miles left to go. The worldwide recognition that women's rights are human rights is still missing. Women are still subjected to violence and oppression, and many are denied the most basic of rights around the world.Women make up less than one in five of the world's parliamentarians in the twenty-first century. Education can help change all this.

International Women's Day offers a chance to make a commitment to educate girls such as the ones in the photo  in a school in Kabul.

In the Middle East women's rights are still neglected, in spite of great changes that have taken place through the Arab spring. In Saudi Arabia women are not permitted to drive, and if they are unmarried they must remain under male guardianship, diminishing their status to that of a child.

The terrible events unfolding in Syria remind us that we must stand in solidarity with women caught up in the horror of the conflict. Not only are brave women like Marie Colvin losing their lives to shine a light on the unfolding conflict, but Syrian women are at the frontline of a conflict that is tearing the country apart.

And out of the headlines, rape and sexual violence continue to scar women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – one in 10 of whom have been raped, many more than once. Around the world, women are paying the price of war; they work tirelessly for peace, yet they are often not invited to the negotiating table during the peace process.

In fact, less than 20% of the world's parliamentarians are women. Less than 10% of countries have a female head of state, and less than 3% of signatories to peace agreements are women. Every minute, a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth and another 20-30 women suffer serious injury or disability. Women face a barrage of difficulties, just because of their sex.

Education can play a pivotal role in empowering women to fight this glaring injustice. Study after study has shown that educating girls is one of the most effective ways to fight poverty and social prejudice. Yet girls' education is still not valued as highly as boys', despite evidence of the huge benefits it brings to individuals and to communities.

The head of the UN Development Programme calls women's education has a "multiplier effect". Educating women improves their rights in all areas, including property and work. Financial independence, born out of better education, brings prosperity to local communities. Education improves health. Girls with post-primary education are five times more likely to be knowledgeable about HIV and Aids. Figures consistently show that mothers who have been educated are more likely to give birth in health facilities.

Despite all these benefits, 30 million more girls than boys are out of school. The UK government uses aid to promote low-fee providers, but evidence shows that very low income families often have to choose whose fees to pay, and boys regularly push girls out. Removing school fees altogether and providing financial incentives for girls to attend schools is what works – as Brazil has shown through its Bolsa Familia scheme – and that should be prioritised instead.

While the Department for International Development's focus on getting girls into school is commendable, its Girls Education Challenge Fund must complement and support the domestic government's own plans, instead of operating as a parallel, separate fund. DfID should always seek to help developing countries build their own universal school systems.

Education is a basic human right, and denying it to girls and women is unacceptable. Empowering women and achieving gender equality is a slow process which depends on shifting attitudes, traditions and practices. We must commit to a long-term plan.

The first recognized International Women's Day was held in Austria, Denmark Germany, and Switzerland in March 1911.  One hundred years of International Women's Day brought so much, but as the UK government's spending cuts impact so negatively on women that leading equality charities have declared them illegal, we know how far we still have to go.

Ask ourselves how does United States, the land of the free and the opportunities, compare and celebrate International Women's Day?

International Women's Day is planned to be celebrated nationwide although Canada, herself, doesn't do so well coming at 40th in the world for women political representatives, with one seat below little Luxembourg, with 76 of 308 Canadian House of Commons seats going to women. Still we stand better than Britain at 54, tied with Malawi, and far better than the U.S. which stands at number 78, tied with Turkmenistan and far below many nations it professes to despise.

Today, Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women announced that Canada will celebrate the first International Day of the Girl on October 11, 2012 following its recent designation by the United Nations.

For more information on education, birth rates, health, and abortion issues among nations, please refer to the article published in the Toronto Star.



The Guardian

Most of this piece is summarized from the above sources.


Füsun Atalay ~ Copyright © Will of my Own - 2012

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There is a book I read, but can't think of the name of it or the author. I'm so bad at that kind of thing. It was called something like, A Cup of Tea. It was about the very subject this post is about. The author is building schools over there for these girls and, children in general, to become educated. I agree that education is the key!
FusunA I think they should name Oprah as an ambassador to carry this message who could be more effective and who has worked more tirelessly to ensure that women are educated? rated.
Wonderful piece. I hope and pray women become as strong as possible in this world. I hear they just passed the law requiring an ultrasound before an abortion in Virginia. Women are seen as weak and simple minded. Unable to make intelligent decisions. It is a horrible thing and I rail against the male dominated cultural rules we have now. I hope for change but sometimes everything seems just the same.
I think there is no celebration of International Women's Day in the US - we are so complacent here and it takes nothing for us to forget how far we have come and how much is yet to be accomplished - wonderful piece
Wonderful post, Fusun. I wholeheartedly agree that "the worldwide recognition that women's rights are human rights is still missing."

I also agree that "around the world, women are paying the price of war." Women--and children--are bearing a huge part of the burden. This is something that I don't think our leaders, or the leaders of other countries, even factor in in their rush to war, particularly in the invasion of Iraq; or even now, with the situation with Iran. How can anyone think, in this day and age, that war is any kind of good solution? There is such a lack of foresight, and a willingness to devastate whole populations (as well as trash their environment for decades to come), which is almost unbelievable. Thanks for this excellent post!
Fusun: every day on this day I went to church.. Not to pray but to congregate and talk among ourselves. That we mattered, were loved and had rights. Education should be for everyone everywhere.
We also have to deal with the likes of Rush Limbaugh in this country. I hope this piece gets an EP.
I know that I am not an expert but, inequality based on gender is so offensive to me. Just like those inequities that are predicated on sexuality, race, and religion. I'm glad that such a strong voice as yours is there to inspire and influence the young women of the world.
Education should be the birthright of every child, world wide. Nothing opens the mind in the same way.(It should definitely include fact-based, age-appropriate sex education, as well.) And every adult should value education and promote it as you always do, Fusun. Making education more accessible rather than less, should be a prime concern in every nation on Earth

Women have come a long way, and we have miles still to travel. It's part of why I'm so angry and upset at those in the US who would turn back the clock for women based on their own narrow ideology.

The education of women and girls is probably the world's greatest untapped resource. You note the societal benefits of educated women. However, education is power. In so many cultures, those who hold power rightly see educated women as a threat to that power. Hence educating women/girls becomes a political struggle.
well done and THANK YOU, from me, and for my granddaughters. AND my grandsons. men are equally liberated when we are equal partners!
Beautiful essay, if such a topic can be "beautiful", but I guess the intent can be so. "Culture" remains to blame, but "culture" is not, I am sorry to say, is not Holy. Culture is what you do to survive. This world needs the help of every living person to survive. That survival is moving us all necessarily to, not a "one world government", but to a one world culture of sensitivity and understanding.
I'm linking this to Facebook.
Also, in developing economies w0men play a very essential economic role. The Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, the pioneer of micro-credit and brainchild of Nobel Prizewinner Mohammed Younis, started out giving loans to both men and women. They found with time that women were much better at repaying the loans, and today Grameen lends exclusively to women. Women focus more intently on benefiting the family, while men are more likely to squander the money on drink, gambling, or sex, or other wasteful pursuits. Today 75% of micro-credit loans in the world are made to women.

I traveled in Africa in the 90s, and I think it's not too far fetched to say that women practically carry that continent on their shoulders (or on their heads). Women do almost all the farming and tending animals, they cook and sweep around the house, they carry firewood and walk sometimes miles to fetch water, all while taking care of the children. On the other hand, if it doesn't have to do with cars or machinery or electronics or guns, or in some way make the men feel powerful and important, they basically want nothing to do with it. In many rural villages it was easy to get the impression that men did a lot of lazing around while women worked their tails off constantly. I'm exaggerating a bit here, but there is a lot of truth in this assessment as well.

Around the world it seems women have the greatest work ethic, superior patience and endurance, higher levels of compassion, understanding, and nurturing instincts. Any nation or people that limit the opportunities and freedom of women or exclude them from education and professional attainment is seriously crippling themselves in so many ways.
Education is the answer indeed. Let's not forget that women are and can be a huge work force; also, an educated mother will teach not only her daughter but her son too--that women should be allowed to drive! Thank you, Fusun, a must read. R
Yup, education is the anecdote to many ills. =-}
Thank you for writing this, Fusun. I also hope it gets EP. Lots to absorb and think about. What a blog should be.
Thanks, Friends for your valuable input. I wrote this off the cuff this morning to mark the International Women's Day. There was nothing on Open Salon when I posted it. Since then there are many others which also deserve notice. My wish was to be sure that we didn't let such an important day pass by without letting its importance noted seeing, still, how far away we are from its aims. Women are the greatest resource of a nation - mothers, daughters, peacemakers, and the nurturers of new generations, they should be respected and held in the highest regard - not called what they have been recently by ignorant political figures who attempt to turn the clock backwards.
What an excellent piece. Thank you Fusun,
Bless you for this! r.
Thank you for making us aware of the too many women around the world who don't even have the rights we have here to complain about not having many rights. For as much as we have accomplished, we have so very far yet to go.
Lovely. As a college educator, I see everyday the difference education can make for women.

It's particularly sad for me to read this while living in Wisconsin--a state whose Republican controlled legislature has recently passed a bill to repeal equal pay legislation. With women already earning 78 cents to every male-earned dollar, I can only assume sinister reasons for such a bill.

Education is the path for economic opportunity. But once we teach women, we also need to ensure we pay women what they truly deserve.

Thanks for the read.
It's not that the world can't afford to educate their females, it's that the world doesn't want to. I so hope this decade brings about the change needed to bring women up to the table where they belong by right. It is not something to be "given" to us. It is our right as human beings.
Denail of education to women is unacceptable. The desire to keep women down is persistent, and it's disgusting.
Fine piece, Fusun.
Well said! Thank you so much for writing this, Fusun. IWD is a much bigger deal in other parts of the world than North America. There is a website that tracks IWD events all over the world: www.internationalwomensday.com. Something to keep in mind for next year!
Thank you for this
A good reminder Fusun that no matter how much progress we've seen in our lifetimes, full equality is still very far off.
Truly excellent piece. Thanks for taking the time to research and write this, and share it with us today. Well done.
If only all countries in the world were as "lucky" (not the right word I know) as yours and mine when it comes to Education, basic and equal rights for women. Yes, arguably we still have a little way to go but still when compared to others ... "lucky".

At the university where I work we mark International Women's Day with a luncheon and some inspirational guest speakers but, unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend this year. I enjoyed your essay, dear Fusun. As always, it was very well done and very informative.
You have one of the strongest voices here, Fusun. R and hugs!
Oh yes. Oh hell yes. Thank you for this. And every day, we moms and daughters and sisters must stand together to combat the nagging, incessantly insidious, and plain evil notion that women and girls are somehow not quite as good. Grassroots education in the home is earth-shaking. Fusun, you are a treasure. Rated with admiration.
Knowledge is power. You're absolutely right. Dominating women is not only dressing them in burquas but also stripping them naked as sex objects. R
For all we don't yet have, Fusun, we do have education at least here on OS and as women have so much our mothers did not. Change is unfortunately incremental. Would not want to be a man in this changing world. They are so isolated cf most women, right? So I'd add our empathy and our ability to communicate are both what save us after getting educated. Slowly slowly. Methinks Rated
This day is such a great moral booster and with the numbers slowly changing to a better average. Who knows, one day maybe things will truly be equal. Womens Day rules! Go for it!
I absolutely agree. Education and books are the tools to freedom and knowledge.
Fusun, Perfect post for IWD. Sorry I didn't get to this last night. And thanks for all the great links to further info. Yes we need much better political representation. As a woman could you imagine sitting through all that crap in our House of Commons? :)
Thank you for this post, Fusun. As the GOP nominees and their comrades are so hell-bent on destroying women and stripping them of their basic rights in the U.S., it is refreshing to read something uplifting and hopeful as concerns women. So many miles before we sleep . . .
Thanks so much for this information, Fusun. I didn't realize International Women's Day was so widely recognized. Now if we can only transfer the same regard to the actual women.

I think somehow you and I have a silent pact to educate one another. Maybe it's the L'Air du Temps.:)
A wonderful post. If women ruled the world we would be so much better off. r
I didn't realize that the day to honor women was so old--1911. We need to educate and empower women worldwide everyday.
canada sounds so much ahead of us in women's (and human) rights. firts international girl's day - bravo!
Thanks you for raising our awareness.

The book is called Three Cups of Tea.
Educated women teach their daughters and sons that women should be educated. And so, for those who can live without fear, it goes... RRRR
You ladies are always complaining about how bad you got it.

And you're right.

Hang in there. There are still plenty of people to be convinced, but you have plenty of support from the male side of the equation. If anything, this world is more ready for equality than at any other time in history.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

We've progressed, but not nearly enough.
My wife will love to share this with her colleagues. I forwarded the link. Thank you. This is a topic not for a day but a lifetime.
"Women face a barrage of difficulties, just because of their sex." The world still fights change for the better. How long will this be true?

An incredible piece, there's much here I didn't know so I'm glad I saw it in the feed.
Thank you for educating me, Fusun. Hope you are well.
Important reminder of the power of education. Thank you!
Fusun, A very good summation of the Guardian article - the middle east is a different world for women. The first time we visited, I asked my friend if I should cover my head. Women there are, as Pertruchio says in The Taming of the Shrew
"my goods, my chattels; she is my house,
My household stuff, my field, my barn,
My horse, my ox, my ass, my any thing;" - owned by a man and reduced to a status of a thing... heartbreaking.