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Why We Celebrated International Women’s Day All Month Long

Girl With TrophyNo doubt you have enjoyed reading about some of the world’s most influential women in this month’s blog. But why spend an entire month discussing women who inspire change? After all, International Women’s Day is just a single day occurrence, right? Really, though, we hope a month full of blogs featuring special women of all ages and walks of life was inspiring to our readers. 

If you have a daughter, take a moment to reflect on how she is living her life and your hopes for her future. The young women of the world may be tomorrow’s leaders. They may be called upon to fight for the rights of women who can’t do so for themselves. They may affect change that results in better lives for people the world over. Yes, our young women are precious and deserve to be recognized.

Sadly, the world today continues to exploit women of all ages. A Pantene commercial that aired in the Philippines dealt with the issues that women face in the work place. It depicted men as being praised as leaders and dedicated workers. Then women were depicted in the same roles, but the words associated changed to things like bossy or selfish. For today’s girls to be tomorrow’s thinkers and leaders, in business and other aspects of society, they need help to overcome these social barriers.

DiversityWomen also need to be seen as deserving of respect. Certainly, the women we have discussed this month make us pause and wonder at the things they have accomplished. We can’t imagine these women as teenagers sending lewd pictures of themselves to boys at school. This is just one of many areas where young women need to be taught to have enough self respect. It’s not just men who need to respect women. These young women need to learn to respect themselves. Hopefully, some of the women we have discussed this month are motivating young women to break free from these reckless social norms and reach out for a brighter future for themselves and others.

Next month, this blog is all business. Do you want to start a business, but find it difficult to come up with a great idea? Do you have a great idea and are just hitting walls trying to fund it? If you are looking for something to help your business, be sure to come back here in April as we get down to business all month long. 

 

Posted in: Women in Business, Women's Issues

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She Works Hard in Washington for the Hard Working Middle Class

Internatlional Womens DayIt would be tough to consider women who inspire change without discussing the political career of Elizabeth Warren. In 2012, she was elected as a senator for Massachusetts, the first woman ever to hold that position. Her stand on middle class struggles has earned her recognition from organization after organization since 2009. TIME magazine has listed her amongst the most influential people in the world on multiple occasions.

A Harvard Law professor, Warren has used her knowledge and influence to assist families that struggle like hers did after her father suffered a heart attack and the family’s income was reduced as a result. Today, she sees the same struggle for families as they cut costs in things like clothing and appliances to make up for skyrocketing healthcare, mortgages, and transportation expenses. She co-wrote a book along with her daughter explaining why even two-income middle-class families need to get by with less and sometimes still incur a lot of debt.

As a result of the 2008 economic crisis, Warren moved further into the political spotlight as chairperson for the Congressional Oversight Panel that reported on how the government bailout program was working. Subjects such as loans for small businesses and mitigation of foreclosures were addressed by the committee during her tenure as chairperson.

By US Congress (U.S. Government Printing Office) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By US Congress (U.S. Government Printing Office) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Along with several other senators, Warren is fighting for the average American worker. Since greater productivity has been required, and cost of living has continued to increase, she is in favor of increasing the nation’s minimum wage to over twenty dollars per hour. The drastic increase would obviously affect many businesses that rely on cheap labor, but the idea is to pay the average working person what they are actually worth regardless of the effect on bottom line for major corporations such as in the fast food industry.

Her latest book, A Fighting Chance, is set for release in April of this year. In it, she continues her crusade for better bankruptcy laws in the US, revealing that many cases are actually for reasons other than health related bills which previous studies claimed made up about half of the nation’s bankruptcies. In her book, she shows the decades long battle that she fought and lost against the powerful banking industry. After failing to defeat Washington bureaucrats, she decided to become one, and reached that goal in 2012. E

lizabeth Warren’s story is one of success and failure as she struggles to inspire change for the average household. Regardless of the outcome, however, Warren is determined to continue speaking out against predatory bankers, and in behalf of the working class.

Posted in: Women in Business, Women's Issues

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She Fights Religion for the Sake of Women

WomensDayVectorImage3While not every religion of the world oppresses women, many have practices and traditions that do. One such practice that is common in Islamic lands, such as Egypt, is female circumcision. Of course, that is the nice name for it and doesn’t really describe the practice properly. It is actually female genital mutilation, and over 140 million women worldwide have been victims of this painful, and dangerous, act. One such victim, Nawal El Saadawi from Egypt, has spent decades of her life trying to protect other women from this practice. 

Her efforts have paid off legislatively speaking. Female genital mutilation became illegal in Egypt as of 2008. But that doesn’t mean that some religiously devoted individuals aren’t practicing it in secret. Some girls are sent to other countries under the guise of studying abroad, only to find out that they are being sent to a place where female circumcision is still legal. There are many other nations where the practice is not yet banned. That’s why Nawal El Saadawi is continuing to speak out.

Her outspokenness against the role that religion has played in many of the practices and traditions that oppress women has earned her numerous death threats over the years. In fact, she had to flee to the United States 1988 after religious extremists threatened her and political persecution increased. 

By Boberger (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Boberger (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A prolific author, Nawal El Saadawi has written nearly 50 books that deal with the issues women face in Egypt. In 1972, she lost a prominent position in the medical community due to a book that revealed numerous atrocities being allow to continue. She even spent some time in jail over the controversial commentary on the state of women in Egypt. 

Prostitution and domestic violence are two other controversial topics that the activist frequently comments on in her work. She also tries to make the world aware of the plight of child brides, which is still a practice in some lands, with girls as young as 10 being sold as marriage mates. The practice is illegal in most places and recognized as morally wrong, however, with a strong economic downturn, some families still turn to this solution for quick income. 

Because of the role that religion has played in the oppression of women in Egypt and other lands, Nawal El Saadawi has been campaigning for the end of religious instruction in Egyptian schools since 2011.

Though now in her eighties, Nawal El Saadawi is determined to keep up the fight as long as she has breath in her body. A lifetime of dedication to helping women worldwide is certainly something to commend as we reflect on International Women’s Day and the women who have inspired change around the world.

 

Posted in: Women's Issues

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