In recent days, we have heard extensively from women's voices; people like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg, and activist Malala Yousafzai, buzz through the media. Both here at home and across the rest of the globe, women make noise; however, numbers exhibit the harsh realities -- gender equality remains on our to do list.
To tackle gender inequality, we must understand that promoting women's rights is a joint effort. Just as important, we need to recognize how promoting gender equality will yield unparalleled benefits. Subsequently, we can give people like Gillibrand, Sandberg, and Yousafzai a helping hand and further the cause.
We still suffer from gender inequality in America. Without a doubt, women's suffrage in this nation combated our patriarchal society head on. Compared to women in other countries, American women are blessed, enjoying the fruits of freedom and opportunity.
Abroad, women and girls fight for fundamental rights that many of us here may take for granted. Amid the palpable inequality endured overseas, American women continue to preach feminism.
Interestingly, I think we must indeed voice and emphasize feminism in this country for an advantageous and successful battle worldwide.
First, lets ponder the benefits we could see here at home. Protests and pleas for equal pay press on within American society. Allow Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a working mother who faces sexism in the workplace, to expose the great earnings that will surface if equal pay materializes. The senator recently tweeted, "empowering women to achieve their full economic potential is not only good for women, it's good for families and the economy." Both gutsy and admirable, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand speaks the truth and pushes for women on Capitol Hill, highlighting why women's rights are good for America overall.
Unfortunately, despite the strong feminist voices out there, the numbers still remain unchanged. In response to this fact, Sheryl Sandberg and her Lean In team architected a movement known as Circles: a worldwide community of small peer groups that address gender inequality and meet periodically to support and encourage each other. Currently, the organization has 20,000 active Circles all over the world, including on several college campuses. For future's sake and for true equality, I hope Circles continue to spread, challenging the status quo.
I say this because a continued effort in America serves as a reminder for the entire globe. These strides convey our devotion and commitment to women's issues. As long as American feminists persistently advocate, the rest of the world will progress too. Furthermore, combating gender inequality is a collective fight.
In partnership, Sheryl Sandberg and Malala Yousafzai recently hosted a Facebook livestream addressing female education. The Malala Fund tweeted a Sandberg quote from the event: "together, with our voices, we can empower every girl to get an education and fulfill her dreams." Empowering women and doing so collectively, strengthens the cause. That being said, Malala cannot stand unaccompanied. In harmony, we must amplify her voice.
Malala's vision is simple -- the right to a quality education for all. Malala's long-wished-for objective can be perceived as merely giving girls access to an education; however, it will be the effects that will make a profound difference for society as a whole.
Perhaps we haven't considered the advantageous effects. Contemplate giving one girl an education. When starting a family, this girl will influence her children and lead them towards pursuing educational goals of their own. Her children will then urge their offspring to do the same.
Almost effortlessly then, a society transforms and harmful norms begin to fade.
To illustrate, a woman with an education receives economic security, dodging poverty. If a mother is informed about the importance of vaccines, her children will likely escape preventable disease. An educated mother will rescue her family from the dangers and injustice poverty breeds. Moreover, an educated mother could save her child from falling prey to terrorism. From my political science career thus far, I have gathered that terrorism thrives under poverty-stricken conditions. Circumstances such as, a lack of schools, few human rights, endangered lives, and no economic safety, lure individuals towards a dark path of violence, propaganda, and terror. Equal rights, like giving boys and girls a quality education, could institute dramatic change.
We have to want this change. Additionally, we must alter our current perception and thinking. Women are often times perceived as nurturers, not necessarily leaders. It is time we depart from limiting statements like these. In contrast to these limiting beliefs, educated women have unique powers, and thus exhibit leadership. While leading with a nurturing touch, women will help extinguish problems like poverty, disease, and terrorism.
Women bestowed with equal rights are powerful. Luckily, this is good news for all of us. If the fight continues, if we remind each other how important gender equality is, the numbers will change. We must recognize how fruitful the future could be. Before an equal world emerges, we will witness a ripple effect -- gender bias gradually diminishing and the building of safe schools for more boys and girls. Eventually these ripples will heighten into waves, wiping out the status quo.
Recently, Sheryl Sandberg hosted a Lean In Campus Kickoff that addressed the Circle movement. I had the wonderful opportunity of being part of Q-and-A with Mrs. Sandberg prior to the event. In brief, Sandberg believes the millennial population displays the most promise in achieving true equality. Battling gender inequality is a joint effort and both males and females are not only welcome, but also urged to join in.
To learn more about Circles and how you can make a difference visit: http://leanin.org