Monday, June 18, 2012
Gender Parity and its Impact on National Security
In her recent book entitled Sex and World Peace, Dr. Valerie Hudson highlights the barriers to girls' education, and the plethora of incredible benefits associated with gender parity and girls' empowerment. While many groups and individuals now acknowledge that educating women and girls impacts local health, Sex and World Peace highlights another key benefit of women's education and fair treatment: national security. Says Hudson: "Interestingly, those states that invest in their women--for example, ensuring that girls are educated to an equal level with that of boys-- are more likely to be wealthy, to be stable, and to be democratic" (18). She adds "What makes a state safer-- power or gender equality? The answer may surprise you: both make a state more secure. Those states that foster gender equality through laws and enforce those laws are less likely to go to war" (18).
Specific to our work here at Grow.Learn.Give., the book notes that "one informant from Kenya told of women having to urinate and defecate in bags during the day, and then having to go out at night and throw the bags as far as they could into the fields. Girls' schooling may become sporadic if there are now adequate facilities for the girls to manage their menstruation at school, and some families may simply take a girl out of school once she begins to menstruate" (55).
This is where Grow.Learn.Give. steps in, providing education and realistic solutions to girls facing education barriers due to menstruation. While our goals are focused on small groups of girl students, we are happy to learn that the outcomes of our efforts might not only impact the individual lives of young women, but also the security of their communities and countries.
Watch this clip with Dr. Hudson for more on the book and its development: