In October of 2012, the world was deeply saddened and outraged to learn of the shooting of a young girl in Pakistan. Malala Yousofzai, age 14, was shot by a Taliban-gunman while riding home on a school bus.
A planned assassination attempt on her life occurred because she publicly advocated that girls be allowed to attend school. The oppression and suppression of women occurs daily, throughout the world, resulting in millions of women living in fear.
The United States government, and Trust in Education for that matter, has adopted what is essentially a “hope strategy” for women. We educate and advocate, hoping that women will become “empowered”, acquire more rights over time, and that “things will get better”.
However, our support for women’s rights, beyond our borders, is trumped by national “strategic interests”, namely oil, trade, and defense.
We must acknowledge the fact that there are millions of men who have absolutely no interest in reducing their power over women, regardless of how educated they become or how persuasive we think we can be. For these men, male supremacy is the “natural order of things”.
The “natural order” doctrine was codified in Afghanistan in March of 2012 by the Ulema Council, an influential council of clerics, and supported by the Afghan government.
The “code of conduct” the Council adopted included a statement to the effect that “men are primary and women are secondary”. This is a top down pronouncement of male supremacy; reassuring those who view male supremacy as “natural”.
What can be done, other than educate, advocate and commiserate? We can put our money where our values lie. We announce to the world that the United States cares about women, women’s rights, and gender equality, and let nations know that foreign aid dollars will start being allocated accordingly.
No country will be forced to do anything. But, the United States will begin taking into consideration whether countries applying for aid are moving toward gender equality or not. Those who are improve their chances of receiving aid. What we all know to be true is money often talks louder than words.
Please consider lending your name in support of this petition.
Together we can be instrumental in helping moving the world toward gender equality.
Founder, Trust In Education