Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. Last night the first woman director was honored for her work in the film industry in Hollywood with an Oscar. In America, we have some work to do, too.
A panel convened to speak to the issues facing women of the world at the Geneva Summit. This year the "focus is on the discrimination against women in countries marred by authoritarian repression and armed conflict".
Massouda Jalal, the first woman to run for President of Afghanistan, spoke of her historic run in 2004. "The ousting of the Taliban was a golden moment in the life of Afghanistan. I dreamed of transforming my country and liberating my country fro poverty. I dreamed of instant changes in the lives of Afghan women." She was not successful but she spoke to the strength that comes from women uniting and standing together for change. She knew her chances of election were small but to her the larger issue was the statement that the age of the Taliban reign was over.
Whether it is in the household or in the business world, women bring strong leadership, particularly in the areas of the economics of purchases and education. Women are the decision makers with household budgets. Women are the people in the trenches demanding better options and standards of education for children around the world.
Women in Africa, for instance, are learning to form co-ops to sell wares or harvested crops to support their families. This step allows families to have access to better options for health care, education of children and providing basic shelter. Foreign aid money is far better spent on community based programs that empower local women to form alliances together for economic solvency than given to governments has a whole which is more likely to be in the hands of corrupt dictators or totalitarian leaders.