The Power Of Women

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ever heard of the book/movie “The Power of One?” Well, I believe in the power of women! Someone needs to write another book. I’ve been doing A LOT of reading on poverty alleviation and reduction in the third world. All of the brilliant economists who write on poverty say the same things. Invest in WOMEN!! When a woman is given aid money, or a micro-loan, she wants to start a business for herself. She uses the money to raise her family out of poverty. She purchases things like mosquito netting, to prevent her children from contracting malaria, she buys things like plastic or tin roofing, to keep her family warm and covered at night, she then buys chickens or cows, to feed her children eggs and milk to keep them nourished and healthy. She plants a garden. The woman knows that education is the answer. She knows that if her children are educated they have a chance to “make it” in the world. She strives to put her children in school, the best schools. She pushes them to study, she encourages literacy.

I’m a woman, but know that I am not a raging feminist. The facts are clear, the experts all say the same thing... INVEST IN WOMEN! Read Nobel Peace Award Winner of 2006, Muhammad Yunus’s book “Banker to the Poor” who began giving micro-loans to women in Bangladesh raising millions of women and their families out of poverty. There are so many stories of success when we invest in women, yet, time and time again we continue to invest in men in the world, our billions of dollars in foreign aid is many times given to corrupt male government officials in third world countries, to men to start businesses to sell our western products, to men to build roads and infrastructure. Thus the cycle continues... women in the third world are subservient, abused, and suppressed, as are their 8 or 10 children. The woman is forced to sell her children, into labor, or brothels. Militant guerrilla groups seize her children promising them “a better life.”

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some amazing women, right here in my own community. Women who have inspired me, women who have single handedly taken my project to the next level. In fact I would say that 90% of the funds raised for this project were initiated by women in this community. Almost every single check written to this project has been written by a woman. 95% of the e-mails I receive in response to local press come from women. Every single article or piece of press that I have received has been the result of a woman in this community calling the paper, urging them to cover my story.

I appreciate men. I appreciate their roles as fathers and providers, who work hard and honestly for their money, who believe in family values. I have been blessed to have amazing men in my life as well. But today I am acknowledging women. Today my heart is overwhelmed with the generosity and the power of women. Maybe a better word for this is “feminine energy.” The power to organize, to work together, to collaborate and come up with amazing ideas and solutions. Women look for projects that reach out to other women and children. They look for sustainable resolutions. This week alone, women of Mendham raised $10,000 for Kopila Valley Children’s Home and for this I give many many thanks.

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