After a year at a women's college, I've come to realize that I am not a feminist. I don't understand feminist theory, I don't really care much for complaining about perceived slights, it doesn't really bother me that, in the English language, there is no gender neutral pronoun, and I believe that there are a lot of ways that girls have it easier than boys (not that I agree we're completely equal, just that we all have our challenges in life).
But now I have to clarify. I, personally, don't believe I've had any significant hardships in my life because of my gender, or even any minor struggles beyond those directly related to menstruation (which I'm not asking anyone to eliminate). However, I know this isn't true in other areas of the world, and issues of women's rights (to food, to life, to a basic education) are issues that I find myself very attracted to. Which is why, when my mom sent me this video, I was very much interested.
The video portrays the grim, but not uncommon, realities in the future for adolescent girls in poverty. While it isn't a scholarly writeup on the situation, and therefore has little evidence to support it's ideas, it offers a solution that many have said may be the way to end poverty in the world: keeping girls in school until they have enough of an education to earn a living for themselves.
It's been found that women in charge of the family's income are more likely to spend the money on things for the family, such as food and necessary health care supplies, while men are more likely to spend money on themselves: at the bar, or on prostitutes. So a woman may be found on the street, holding her child who's dying of malaria because they couldn't afford a $5 mosquito net... while her husband is spending his $5 on beer.
Keep the girls in school, the video says. Why aren't they in school, you wonder. Plenty of reasons. Perhaps she lives in a country where women simply aren't considered valuable enough to educate. Maybe her family can't afford it, because all the money the family has is going to food, or beer, or education for the boys. Or maybe she had to drop out, because she didn't have access to feminine hygienic products and had to stay home every fourth week or so and she was falling too far behind.
So lets find a way to educate our girls. Maybe some amazing things could happen. Will you do your part?
(The more I write, the more I wonder if there's really anything I can do.)