I am a college educated woman. I have the freedom to choose to work or not. I have access to health care. I can vote. I can open a bank account. I can leave my home without my husband's permission. I can wear what I want. I do not live in fear. I am not oppressed.
Unfortunately, these statements are untrue for many, many women around the globe. They have few, if any, rights. Everything from health care to education to money to simple freedoms is limited and decided on by those in power over her (and that could be government, husbands, fathers, culture, etc).
I so want to help these dear women so that they can live a life that brings them joy, that allows them to live fully, to improve themselves and their families. Yet, I don't want to just throw money at the situation (although money at times is very much what is needed) or cause more harm by imposing my western ideas on another culture.
So, with that in mind I am choosing to educate myself on women and their rights around the globe. There are so many resources out there to learn more. Here's just a sampling.....
Read Half the Sky. Seriously. This book is amazing and eye opening. Also, contains a long list of aid groups that you can research and use to educate yourself.
Check out Newsweek's Women in the World. Packed with great information and covers a multitude of areas where women are not empowered. The magazine has also started a foundation, Women in the World, that aims to empower women and bring them out of oppression. Great links to some fabulous aid organizations and ways to help.
Women of Vision (a part of World Vision) is a great way to educate yourself and get involved. You can join a local chapter or if you live in an area (like me) without one you can join the international chapter which is online.
Knowing the why behind women's oppression and understanding the culture will go a long way in helping to effectively eradicate it. This will be an ongoing journey for me as I learn more and do my small part to make a difference.