As I attended briefings in New York yesterday at the Church Center, I was struck by a theme that seemed to come up during every briefing. While the empowerment and education of rural women is key, many of the discussions came back to how we are living in a patriarchical world, where men are the ones in power and charged with making the decisions.
If women are to be empowered and educated, men need to see the dire need to change the cultural norms and customs that locate women behind men. Men need to realize that more progress can be made if women are given an equal voice in every discussion. Treating women as second-class citizens or pieces of property can no longer be tolerated anywhere in the world. Everyone is in the battle to make the world safer, more sustainable, and better suited for our future.
But how do we make men see this issue? How do we take the power from men and redistribute it equally? Many cultures, histories, and religions designated men to be the leaders. How do we refocus the lense so that internationally, men can see where they have been wrong and see where they have disrupted progress by denigrating women?