When the gunman, a rejected engineering student, shot those young women he was enraged that they were pursuing studies in a profession he believed was meant for men. That was a quarter of a century ago. Today, more and more women are flooding into professions, including engineering, once considered male preserves, but there is still so much more progress to be made in changing those attitudes that enable gender-based violence.
Is increased recruitment enough to change the current dynamic where women are a minority in a culture that has not yet changed enough to make their experience welcoming? The short answer is no. History has demonstrated that increasing the representation of women in an organization or profession does not automatically result in culture change.
In a new global report conducted by Plan entitled Hear Our Voices, we spoke with more than 7,000 adolescent girls and boys from 11 countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America. We wanted to learn more about what issues and concerns adolescent girls faced and how boys felt about those issues too.
I am no stranger to the search for freedom. I've always been drawn to the open road and I feel inspired by leadership roles and risk in the unknown. And since I'm confessing, I have also been known to resist conformity -- a throwback to school uniforms in my early years, I'm sure. But recently I've been noticing a trend; the word freedom is appearing in unexpected and inspiring places. Is this the theme of a generation of women who will right the ship?
To the Mr. Misogynists out there, I beg of you to ask, where did you go wrong in life? At what point in your lives did you stumble upon a fork in the road, taking the path poorly traveled, deciding to turn your back on your DNA? Was it in the boys' locker room, after the big game, patting each other on the bum?
It's important to note that despite my appreciation for Watson's UN campaign, I believe much of the criticism she's faced has been warranted. Liberal white feminism tends to cling to these seemingly iconic moments in which feminism briefly becomes more palatable, more easily sold to the masses. Men shouldn't care about feminism because it may improve things for them. They should care about feminism because it will improve things for women.
Like so many other people inspired by Emma Watson's impassioned speech in her new capacity as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, I shared it to Facebook. Like so many other posts on Facebook and elsewhere calling for attention to women's rights, it almost immediately received a comment from someone who took umbrage with the message.
It's everyone's right to have an opinion. But here is what bothers me: they've got the wrong definition. They are basing their judgment of me, my beliefs and on feminism as a whole, on inaccurate information. What I am calling for is a re-education of women, and men, across North America. If you take a look at feminism's goal (one more time: equality!) and still want to tote a sign that says, "I'm an anti-feminist," I suppose that is your prerogative.
A female in my nation may state education as the most important right for her, but others may feel the right to clean drinking water, basic healthcare, or freedom from torture more pressing. The fact of the matter is that human rights are all important. All of them must be fought for, and, once gained, must be retained.
"Why shouldn't women be called to the Catholic priesthood?" This is the question that Roy Bourgeois has been asking out loud since the RCWP ordination of his friend Janice Sevre-Duszynska, six years ago on August 8, 2002. It's the question that landed him in a boat-load of hot water with the Vatican who insisted that he recant his position.
It is widely acknowledged that Japan needs more females in business to make up for a shrinking workforce and to boost economic growth and opportunity. With this admirable goal in mind, we must work to make Japan a nation where every individual, male and female, has equal opportunities to realize their full social, economic and political potential. As a Japanese youth, I am not afraid to break from traditional practices and defy what is expected of me. I am ready to pursue my own dream to become a fearsome business leader and 2014 G(irls)20 Delegate representing Japan.
The remedy for all ignorance is simple; compassion and education. If you come across a 21st century "alpha" male basking in North American blindness, be kind. They are less-educated in the ways of human behavior, and perhaps it is best to leave them to it. Pick up the torch, speak up, and educate those who are willing to listen. Your voice has power. Never let go of the truth in equal rights.
As an evolved species, we can do better than repeating the same patterns of discrimination that feed into a looping and segregating cycle. Let's lay out all issues on the table, educate, and not stamp prejudice onto those who suffer greatly for various other reasons because they fit in with the white/ straight/ rich categories.
When the headlines fade, the daily, persistent, and pervasive violence against girls and women around the world will continue unabated and generally unreported. And it will persist until people and their governments start connecting the dots between these headline-making atrocities and the everyday, out of the headlines, violence targeted at girls and women on public streets, in the household, in the workplace, and in and around schools and why these incidents happen.
While some women would no doubt make plenty of money by running escort services or choosing a few well-paying clients, the majority of those in prostitution do not have that kind of relative bargaining power. And considering that we share a border with the U.S., not only will decriminalization lead to increased demand from Canadian citizens, but also from our southern neighbours.
I am excited to have the G20 Summit held in Australia this year because I believe this provides Australia with the opportunity to intensely scrutinize its own role in the world. While Australia in many respects is a wonderful country to live in, I believe that as a wealthy, prosperous nation, we still have a lot of work to do.
With kids growing up surrounded by advertising, movies and TV, toys, books, and clothes that tell them that some things are for girls, and others are for boys, we're already fighting an uphill battle if our goal is to raise girls who know that they can solve tough, real world problems, and boys who are interested in collaboration, not just competition.
We applaud the Government of Canada's continued efforts to push women's and children's health to the forefront of the global agenda, as the high-level Summit on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health opens in Toronto this week. In far too many many parts of the world, women still struggle to access the health services they need, at an often deadly price.