Should men advocate for the empowerment of women and girls?

June 15, 2016 - Posted by

For thousands of years men have mostly dominated commerce, politics, society … and women.  In many countries in the developing world women have been, and are today, treated as slaves, both servile and sexual. They are kept uneducated, and without many of the basic human rights of dignity, safety, respect, liberty and justice.  They are used, abused, raped, mutilated and subject to domestic violence on a scale that in some cultures around the world is allowed to pass as normal, every day behavior. In such societies women are subject to discrimination, suppression, repression and oppression.

In western civilization, arguably the most advanced in history, it is only in the last hundred years that women have fought for the right to vote, to have a bank account of their own and much more recently to be accepted as valuable contributors and leaders in business, government and non-profits.   Even today, in the west, gender and racial discrimination still occurs in schools, in homes, and in the workplace.

As long as men have dominated commerce and politics, the world has suffered the hardships of war, violence, hatred and disease.  More lives have been lost or destroyed at the hands of men through conflict, violence and war in the last century than ever in human history at the hands of women.

Today, there are men who understand the global challenges we are facing.  They see that gender balance is an integral part of addressing those challenges and are advocates for the advancement and empowerment of women and girls, but there simply aren’t nearly enough … yet.

Humankind is now facing its greatest crisis of all time, the potentially devastating affects of climate change.  The reasons for it may be debatable but the facts are indisputable.  Change is desperately needed in how we treat one another and our planet if we are to survive as a species.  If one accepts the argument that it is a result of human industrial and technological advances, largely at the hands of men since the dawning the industrial revolution 200 years ago, then we must ask what are the actions, behaviors and characteristics of men that have been the greatest contributors to this crisis?  How much have dysfunctional greed, ego and ruthless competition contributed to the dire straits in which we now find ourselves?  What must change?

As men, what part have we have played in the creation of a world and society that is no longer sustainable without the total inclusion, participation, support, respect and partnership of women.  Women have been in this fight for women’s rights for centuries.  When the pressure is on, they tend to advocate for, and support, one another.  They collaborate together.  They are natural nurturers and protectors.  When the pressure is on, men tend to become more insular, isolated, competitive, even aggressive.

It’s Earth itself, our home, that is demanding immediate change in order to better nurture and support humankind now and in the future.  Perhaps, with a focus on the complete advancement and empowerment of women and girls the changes that are necessary to heal the planet for the survival of humankind are actually possible.  So again, what must change?

We need girls to be engaged, informed, inspired and educated, not carrying water, chopping wood and out of school, working all day. We need women to have greater autonomy with careers in science, technology, health, education and business being made equally available to them should they so choose.

We need girls everywhere to have the best available education, alongside boys, so they can be better stewards of the planet we are handing to them.  We need boys to be taught to have a healthier respect for girls and women so we don’t repeat similar mistakes of the past.  We need potable water and sanitation to be made available to every village, community and family where none currently exists.  We need female community leaders to partner with evolved men to ensure future generations grow up with the model and example of mutual respect and fairness.  We need women to take the helm in more businesses, not because they can act like men, but because they are needed to exercise their inherent feminine strengths of fairness, compassion, love and kindness.  We need more women to assume positions as leaders in our governments, at global, national and local levels.  We need more women as board members in major corporations to balance any tendencies of greed, ego and corruption exhibited largely by men.

Men, it’s time for us step up, step in and stand out from the crowd and advocate for the women and girls of our world. Women need our advocacy and we need them, in their feminine strengths, more now than ever before.  Perhaps once we can achieve gender balance, equality and parity in our world, can our children and their children be able to visualize and realize a better world.  A world that is peaceful, healthy, sustainable and restored to its rightful place as our only one and fully respected home.

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