Bill Gates Sr. (dad to richie rich, Bill Jr.) made the following comment while reviewing the book, Half the Sky:
When a man partners with a strong woman, everyone benefits…. What I find remarkable is that more men around the globe don’t realize how much stronger they would be if partnered with a strong woman. Way too often and in too many corners of the globe, women are denied the opportunity to reach their full potential. It’s wrong and it’s backward, and of course, the irony is that by keeping women down, men lose out too.
The book, and the movement, seek to illustrate how educating and empowering women can help fight poverty and extremism. Seems like a simple notion, right? Reminds me of the oft repeated quote by Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General,
Achieving gender equality and empowering women is a goal in itself. It is also a condition for building healthier, better educated, more peaceful and more prosperous societies. When women are fully empowered and engaged, all of society benefits. Only in this way can we successfully take on the enormous challenges confronting our world…
These aren’t just cool quotes and soundbites. It’s the plain truth. Strong women make up the foundation for strong communities. That is why I cannot understand why some continue to dis-empower women and perpetuate patriarchal/misogynist policies. If you think women aren’t that important and occupy a second-class status, there might not be much success in convincing you otherwise. Still, misogynist, racist, classist, whoever and whatever you hate, I doubt that you hate money too. That’s why it sometimes helps to show people the bottom line results of their bigotry. Why do you think suing people helps? Getting folks in the pockets is a great persuasive technique. So what ‘s the bottom line when it comes down to empowering women?
- **Investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth.
Educated women have more economic opportunities and engage more fully in public life.
- Women who are educated tend to have fewer and healthier children, and those children are more likely to attend school. Education also increases the ability of women and girls to protect themselves against HIV.
- According to World Bank estimates, an increase of one percentage point in the share of women with secondary education is associated with a 0.3 percentage point increase in per capita income.
When presented with this information, most people view it only in terms of developing nations. No one thinks of empowering women here at home to improve the lives of all Americans. That’s why we’re still fighting over whether a woman is too strong or too educated to get a date. Just this past week alone I saw a blog post and some twitter discussions focused on whether women are making themselves “undateable” by being too ambitious. I cannot even begin to break that down right now as the topic is better served by its own post. However, I wish people would start looking at what we all could gain as a larger society if we supported the education, fair pay, equal access and better health of our women instead of focusing on what power, prestige and positions they might lose themselves.
FYI, just a couple of ways to support strong women and strong communities is to:
- stand up against violence against women
- support comprehensive health care reform that takes into account women’s needs and does not penalize us for gender-related illnesses, procedures and medications.
- perpetuate healthy and empowering messages for young girls
- support equal-pay and equal opportunity in the workplace
- continue to advocate for educated women and encourage girls to study subjects traditionally reserved for boys
- teach boys and young men that empowered women = empowered men
- Check out some of these recommended groups
Everyone’s always trying to get rich like Bill Gates, Jr. When asked what it takes to raise such a successful son, Papa Gates says, “Make sure he can learn from a strong woman.” There it is.