This post is a continuation of my reflections on the documentary, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. You can read my thoughts on the first half here.
During the second half of Half the Sky, there were two stories that made me realize how important education and leadership are for women globally. When woman are provided with opportunity, they do not just lift themselves out of poverty, but they also lift their entire families out of poverty as well.
The documentary travels to India, where 90 percent of sex workers' daughters also follow in their footsteps. When a woman was asked why she didn’t send her daughter away for an education, the woman replied, "Because my daughter would be smarter than I am, and judge me.” The daughter herself was afraid of her fate because she knew that her appearance would fetch a high price in that community if she were sold. All the young girl wanted was a chance at something else in life.
After India, Half the Sky visited a female village in Kenya where they have learned to build their own school, become business leaders, and make their own decisions with what little resources they have been able to find. As we meet a woman who owns an oil business in her community she said, “What I learned, I did not keep to myself. I shared it.” Though she was not part of a Heifer project, it really stuck with me that Heifer’s Cornerstone of Passing on the Gift should be shared for all of us.
At Heifer International, we help lift women and their communities out of hunger and poverty using the our 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, which include: Training and Education, Gender and Family Focus, and Full Participation.
The fastest way to make a difference is to invest in women globally. By providing education, leadership and resources to women in need, they will do what it takes to help their families. As Nicholas Kristoff said last night, “In this world, talent is universal but opportunity is not.”