Let’s talk about your mom, Mother’s Day, women, girls, the ability to sustain the human race, and all the privileges, burdens, and glorious messiness therein.
OK. Let’s just pause and give women, in general, a very big, very heartfelt thank you.
And while we’re at it, we’ll connect some of the dots among women, poverty, world peace, and you. 🙂
Your mom probably won’t tell you about the doors that were closed or the burdens she’s faced simply because she’s a woman. The obstacles vary with time and place and range from idiotic (women can’t run marathons) to dangerous (honor killings, increased risk of domestic abuse) to excruciatingly frustrating (women still earn less than men and still knock out most of the household tasks).
The point is, your mom because she is older than you and female, put up with things you didn’t, and she probably sees those things as not a big deal – stuff that falls under the very big, very persistent “That’s just the way it was back then” umbrella.
Hold that thought – the one about your mom just plugging along getting things done, because now we are connecting the poverty dot.
Peter Temin has done research that suggests in America it takes 20 years with nothing going wrong to break the cycle of poverty, and Legal Momentum estimates that 70% of the nation’s poor are women and children.
With Nothing Going Wrong
70% Of Our Poor Are Women And Children …
You see where I’m headed here … well, maybe you don’t because this isn’t going to be an angry feminazi depressing article. It’s a thinking article that will increase your appreciation for your mom and give you an opportunity to express said appreciation. 😀
How many women in your circle, at your work, your church, your gym, your yoga class … are 1, 5, or 10 years into their 20-year climb? How many of them are single mothers? Meaning, how many of them do NOT think of being a mom as something that went wrong and how many of them figured out how to get educated while shouldering all of the parenting responsibilities?
Personally, I know many such incredible women. A few of them got through not just college or nursing school, but medical school and residency as single moms. I am not slamming men here, just making a statement of fact: I am thirty-plus years into a career in healthcare and I haven’t met a male physician who did med school as a single dad.
But these are the just the problems of being born in one of the most progressive countries in the world.
What About The Women Across The Globe?
What if you are poor and female in a place where they might shoot you for going to school, where getting your period is a reason to miss or quit school, or where collecting water is a dangerous time-suck that outranks your education?
Seriously, how, how, HOW does the world even keep turning when so many women have to work so hard just to be able to contribute? Well, I’ll tell you:
It’s Called The Girl Effect
Which is the idea that “when given the opportunity, girls and women are more effective at lifting themselves and their families out of poverty, thereby having a multiplier effect within their villages, cities, and nations.”
According to Karen Sherman, Executive Director of Global Programs at Women for Women, a non-profit that provides financial aid, job training, rights awareness and leadership education to women in conflict and post-conflict countries, “When you invest in women, they typically invest 90% back into the health, nutrition, and education of their families, as opposed to 30-40% for men.”
Honestly, I think that statistic is a little suspicious, and I’ve already spent too much time trying to verify it. There have to be millions of things that influence how people use their resources. But the take home message is still true: women get things done that are good for the group and they get them done with doors that are closed, with a kid on their back or hip, with less education, and with less money than men. Even in America, the land of opportunity, it happens. And if you don’t believe it, know that the gender pay gap exists even for female physicians, lawyers, dentists … careers where we mistakenly think the playing field has been leveled both professionally and personally.
Collectively, Women Are What I Call “High Producers”
Again, it’s not a slam against men. It’s my opinion, born of years of working, years of mothering, years of volunteering, years of observing and asking people their stories. In fact, I’ve heard many men say, with great admiration for their female colleagues, “I could have never done that.” It’s not that either men or women are better than the other, it’s that we all suffer because it’s been harder for women to contribute and the differences between men and women have been nefariously used.
Check out what this frightened Polish Lawmaker said just this year. In public! Globally, there is no scenario where men are fighting battles like this.
It is possible that the women in your life you intend to honor this Mother’s Day, the high producers who came before you, might have a broader view of the world and women’s place in it. They might be done with chocolate and cards. They might actually want World Peace instead.
Ok, we’ll start smaller. Maybe a world where:
- Girls have the same access to school as boys
- No one, anywhere, thinks it’s a good idea to marry off a girl-child to an adult man.
- People start asking men “How do you do it all?”
- There is no need for commercials stating “Take time to be a dad.”
- There is never a reason that a refugee camp is a better option than staying put.
- You get the idea …
Your Momma Is Already Proud Of You, But …
Go ahead and make your female peeps a nice meal, and throw some money at flowers and chocolate, but also check out the links below.
Make your momma proud, because whether she is alive to see it or not, she wanted better for you. Your momma knows that if it is better for women at home and across the globe, it will be better for us all. This Mother’s Day, continue the work of the High Producers in your life by making the world a little less idiotic, a little less dangerous, and a little less excruciatingly frustrating. Here are a few ways to start.
- Rounding Up Undies This is a program specific to Medical Missions Foundation but it has connections to the larger organization Afripads. And thank you again to all my work peeps that contributed to Rounding Up Undies last year – over $500.00 in cash and undies!
- The Global Fund For Women I’ve researched this organization and contributed. They are legit.
- LearnVest LearnVest is a site about money management but this is a link to sites curated by them that invest in women.
- And lastly, do check out this video which is a very hopeful explanation of how long it takes a country to become industrialized.
Happy Mother’s Day,
Thank you, mom.