In the same way that slavery was a moral challenge for the 19th c. & totalitarianism was a challenge for the 20th c., the challenge that women & girls face around the world is the moral challenge of our time.

~ Sheryl WuDunn & Nicholas Kristof

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Next Malalas: an interview w/ amazing young women stirring up the religious pot in Pakistan @Women in the World

Women and girls word wide are stepping up as powerful agents for change. As people of faith who lean forward toward full gender equality, we need to be aware of and dialogue with the forces within our own religious traditions which are leaning backwards, making it harder for women world wide to be seen and treated as equal human beings with full agency.

Listen to this remarkable young woman in Pakistan making the case to these male village leaders that they should allow girls to attend school.  Listen to how determined they are to preserve male power and limit the independence of girls.  Although most in my tradition (Christianity) are not advocating excluding girls from schooling, do we not have our own voices which seem bent on preserving the idea of male power?

What is ours to do to keep our faith traditions leaning forward for girls and women's full human equality and agency?

The Next Malalas
Undaunted by the attack on 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai, two extraordinary young women are working to change the hearts and minds of Pakistan. By Janine di Giovanni.
So said Khalida Brohi, the 24-year-old founder and director of the Sughar Women Program, which is dedicated to ending tribal violence against women in Pakistan. Brohi was one of two women introduced in an extraordinary session at the Women in the World Summit called “The Next Generation of Malalas.”
In Pakistan, the right to go to school is not a given. In the more rural areas, a girl is born, married off as early as 9 years old, and basically lives life under the control of men. The brutal attack on 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for her education activism, is one that every Pakistani woman knows well. But being shot, in the words of Angelina Jolie, only "made her stronger."
Here is a link of Humaira in her work with village chiefs: 
humaira Bachal, founder and president of the Dream Foundation Trust, works in her village to start schools. The dream of a school is taken for granted by so many. But women like her and Brohi—the new Malalas—are fighting so that all girls have the right to an education, and that what happened to Malala will never happen again.
Filmmaker Sharmeen OBaid Chinoy uses her camera to expose the plight of Pakistani women. Asked by moderator Christiane Amanpour whether she is able to make her powerful films because she is a woman, she responded, “The very reason I am alive is that there is a certain level of respect people have because I am a woman. When they see a woman who looks them in the eye, sometimes they don't know how to look at me."
Who are the new Malalas? They are the women in Pakistan who are launching initiatives on the grassroots level to change a sexist mindset deeply entrenched in Pakistani society. They are brave, because they are fighting against men who believe that women who are educated become too independent. Their independence is a threat.
Khalida’s father warned her that doing this work would kill her. She responded, “Doing this work will keep me alive."

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