March is Women’s History Month, and the 2012 theme is “Women’s Education — Women’s Empowerment.” Around the world and here at TYO, champions for women and girls are making education their focus. This week, we share some of their work and suggest ways that you can help break down the barriers between girls and an empowering education.
Democracy depends on it. That much is clear from Hillary Clinton’s rousing CALL TO ARMS urging women to be advocates for each other’s rights at the Women in the World Summit and from new RESEARCH out of the World Bank that finds female education to be an essential component for successful transitions from autocracy to democracy. Both reference women in Tunisia, where relatively high levels of educational equality have equipped women with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to play an important role in building new social and political structures after last year’s revolution. Likewise, Edward Ojulu calls on women leaders around the world to see their positions of power “as a means through which to influence radical social and political reforms that will benefit all women.” His primary SUGGESTION? Advance policies that will give girls, especially those in poverty, access to a quality primary and secondary education.
What does it take to educate a girl? That’s what documentary filmmakers Frederick Rendina and Oren Rudavsky set out to learn. Their film tells the true stories of girls in Uganda and Nepal, showing what it takes to get them into the classroom. They demonstrate the powerful impact of grassroots organizations, as well as the difficulty–and possibility–of changing men’s minds about the value of girls’ education. Above all, they show that “these huge goals, like the Millennium Development Goals, are achievable. They actually can be done.” Listen to the directors’ favorite stories from the film in this PODCAST and get ready to see To Educate a Girl when it comes to a theater near you.
Educate girls by educating all. Getting girls to school will do no good without quality teachers there to meet them. The International Summit on the Teaching Profession released FIVE MAJOR LESSONS learned at last year’s meeting about the policies that are necessary to attract and train high quality teachers for every classroom around the world. Watch the opening and closing sessions of the 2012 Summit here. Explore TED’s new channel, TED ED, which will soon feature animated 10-minute lessons from passionate, creative, and inspiring teachers. If you know a teacher whose lessons should be featured, submit their name and help spread the magic of learning around the world.
Be an advocate. Get creative about women’s empowerment and submit a T-SHIRT design for CARE by March 28. Your design will support their efforts to bring health and education to women and children in poverty in 87 different countries. And if you think that “every girl should have the opportunity to complete her education and make choices about her future,” sign Plan’s PETITION to give THESE GIRLS real choices in their lives.