Saturday, 26 May 2012

"Our century's greatest injustice

Interesting talk by Sheryl WuDunn, journalist and author of "Half the Sky", which you can watch on TED (interactive transcript provided).

Ms. WuDunn does not focus her talk specifically on India or even on the problem of women's literacy, but rather on what she terms "the central moral challenge of this century: gender inequity." This major challenge is behind many of the problems that developing countries are facing today. Essentially, this broader issue is what inspired us to launch the Women's Literacy Project, Gulabgarh.

At one point Sheryl WuDunn quotes Larry Summers, chief economist at the World Bank, who once said: "It may well be that the highest return on investment in the developing world is in girls' education." Ms. WuDunn goes on to say that "...when you educate a girl, she tends to get married later on in life, she tends to have kids later on in life, she tends to have fewer kids, and those kids that she does have, she educates them in a more enlightened fashion."

The WLP is convinced that if its students understand the importance of literacy and numeracy they will then work harder and in a more informed way toward the education of their daughters.

The WLP also shares the speaker's idea that "individuals can make a difference... individuals, together... can all help create a movement. And a movement of men and women is what's needed to bring about social change…"

Finally, according to Sheryl WuDunn, "...research shows that once you have all of your material needs taken care of… there are very few things in life that can actually elevate your level of happiness. One of those things is contributing to a cause larger than yourself." I suppose this is what those of struggling for women's literacy feel: the joy that comes from knowing we are contributing to a much larger cause than ourselves.

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