BELOW ARE a couple of quotes from an article in the New York Times called The Women's Crusade, by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas D. Kristof, the authors of Half the Sky and the creators of the Girl Effect.
If you help women, you solve many of the problems we have on earth, including the problem of Islam's relentless encroachment.
The reason I feel this should be shared is because about half the non-Muslims who write to me and who want to do something about the terrifying brilliance of Islam are not very adept at influencing people. They have a strong desire to share what they know, but they are finding that the only people willing to listen are those who already know it and agree with it.
But we need to reach the rest of them. That is a central pivot point in the cause. If enough people knew, we could change national polices. But some people really don't want to know about it, for whatever reason, so the word is not spreading as quickly as it should.
One way to deal with it is to improve your ability to influence people, which I highly recommend. But another way is to choose something that has less built-in ready-made resistance to it. The Girl Effect is an excellent candidate.
You can get people to watch and share the video on the Girl Effect website and you can convince them to get involved. You can share with them the quotations below, and invite them to join the Girl Effect on FaceBook to get updates. You can read the book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide and share the book with your friends. And for all these things, you will get very little resistance.
Anyway, on with the quotes:
There’s a growing recognition among everyone from the World Bank to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. That’s why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution...
In many poor countries, the greatest unexploited resource isn’t oil fields or veins of gold; it is the women and girls who aren’t educated and never become a major presence in the formal economy. With education and with help starting businesses, impoverished women can earn money and support their countries as well as their families. They represent perhaps the best hope for fighting global poverty...
Our interviews and perusal of the data available suggest that the poorest families in the world spend approximately 10 times as much (20 percent of their incomes on average) on a combination of alcohol, prostitution, candy, sugary drinks and lavish feasts as they do on educating their children (2 percent). If poor families spent only as much on educating their children as they do on beer and prostitutes, there would be a breakthrough in the prospects of poor countries. Girls, since they are the ones kept home from school now, would be the biggest beneficiaries. Moreover, one way to reallocate family expenditures in this way is to put more money in the hands of women. A series of studies has found that when women hold assets or gain incomes, family money is more likely to be spent on nutrition, medicine and housing, and consequently children are healthier.
In Ivory Coast, one research project examined the different crops that men and women grow for their private kitties: men grow coffee, cocoa and pineapple, and women grow plantains, bananas, coconuts and vegetables. Some years the “men’s crops” have good harvests and the men are flush with cash, and other years it is the women who prosper. Money is to some extent shared. But even so, the economist Esther Duflo of M.I.T. found that when the men’s crops flourish, the household spends more money on alcohol and tobacco. When the women have a good crop, the households spend more money on food. “When women command greater power, child health and nutrition improves,” Duflo says.
...Yet another reason to educate and empower women is that greater female involvement in society and the economy appears to undermine extremism and terrorism. It has long been known that a risk factor for turbulence and violence is the share of a country’s population made up of young people. Now it is emerging that male domination of society is also a risk factor; the reasons aren’t fully understood, but it may be that when women are marginalized the nation takes on the testosterone-laden culture of a military camp or a high-school boys’ locker room. That’s in part why the Joint Chiefs of Staff and international security specialists are puzzling over how to increase girls’ education in countries like Afghanistan — and why generals have gotten briefings from Greg Mortenson, who wrote about building girls’ schools in his best seller, “Three Cups of Tea.”