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The Importance of Women

Here are some quotes on the importance of women!

Equality & Inequality
World Transformation
Women as Peacebuilders and Community Builders
Two Sides of the River

Equality & Inequality
  • The world will never realize 100 per cent of its goals if 50 per cent of its people cannot realize their full potential. (UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, cited here, posted 2015, accessed 8 June 2015) 
  • Only 1% of world property and 10% of world earnings belong to women, despite women being the world majority and the major workforce globally.
  • When people tell me that women choose this life, I can’t help but laugh. Do they know how many women like me have tried to escape, but have been beaten black and blue when they are caught? To the men who buy us, we are like meat. To everybody else in society, we simply do not exist. (Ayesha, India, survivor, cited by Equality Now, accessed 18 October 2013)
  • [To men:] Stop messing about and get it together - we could make a good creative team if you would treat females as equals. (Denise Stephani in her book In the Wings p.203) 
  • ...the evidence we do have makes a case that women who are able to crack the glass ceiling raise the aspirations of their female citizens, and that their countries are also more likely to offer a better quality of life for women. (BBC Reality Check, posted and accessed 4 October 2017)
  • When travelling across Africa, Hillary Clinton (First Lady at the time) observed that everywhere she looked women were carrying firewood, carrying water, carrying babies, working in the markets, toiling in the fields. She asked some economists, who were part of their delegation, how they account for all of the work these women and girls were doing. They said they don’t. They are not part of the formal economy. (See BBC, posted 25 March 2015, accessed 9 October 2016)
  • Justice is the foundation stone for equality and without it, women and girls are enormously disadvantaged politically, economically and socially. At a minimum, legal equality gives women and girls a level playing field from which to build their capabilities and make meaningful contributions to society. Not allowing half of the human race to do this is a serious human rights violation, but governments should also be fully aware that without ensuring equality under the law and equality of opportunity, countries will not be able to make significant progress on any level. (Jacqui Hunt, London director of Equality Now, cited at Marie Claire’s ‘The world’s 11 worst anti-women laws: how do these still exist?’, posted 2 June 2016, accessed 7 October 2016
  • For the moment economists have only looked at the world around them through male eyes and this only provides us with half the story. And with only half the story how can we get results that will help the whole population? (Clara Starrsjo cited at BBC, posted and accessed 13 October 2017)
  • ...study after study shows that having women at work in positions of power correlates with profitability, more collaborative environments, and improved problem solving. (Dr Stacie Grossman Bloom, BBC, posted and accessed 4 October 2017)
  • Equality is not a concept. It's not something we should be striving for. It's a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth, as men and women. And the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who's confronted with it. We need equality - kind of now. (Joss Whedon Equality Now speech, 6m53s, accessed 29 October 2013)
World Transformation
  • When sleeping women wake, mountains move. (Chinese proverb)
  • When women succeed, nations are more safe, more secure and more prosperous. (US President Barack Obama, cited here, posted and accessed 12 June 2015)
  • What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The World would split open. (Muriel Rukeyser from 'Käthe Kollwitz' and The Courage to Heal)
  • Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex, the ugly ones included. (Karl Marx)
  • To educate a man is to educate an individual... to educate a woman is to educate and liberate a nation. (Ghanaian proverb)
  • In too many societies, women are marginalised, devalued, disallowed aspiration, denied their liberty and dignity. The fastest way for societies to enhance their human capital is to educate their women. (Albert Bandura here, p.1, accessed 23 June 2011)
  • Men tend to be happier in a society where women enjoy greater equality. (Cited by BBC, posted 29 June 2013, accessed 30 June 2013)
  • ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is about envisioning justice for all survivors of gender violence. Justice can take many forms. It can be an apology or reparations. Taking legal action. It can be about making the truth visible. It can be prosecuting, or pushing to create change, or implementing policies and laws that ensure the protection of women’s rights. It can be calling for an end to all forms of inequality, discrimination, misogyny and patriarchy. It can be naming perpetrators whether they be individuals, groups, corporations or the state. Demanding accountability. It can be rising for justice be it personal, social, economic, cultural, environmental or political. It can be a revolutionary call to restore dignity and respect for all women. It can be about transformation. This film [see here and here] is Eve and Jordan's vision of justice. We hope it will inspire yours... (V-Day 1 January 2014 email 'We Invite You to Envision & RISE for Justice in 2014!')
  • When you're changing a girl's life, it's not just that life. You start to affect a family, a community, a nation. (Oprah Winfrey)
  • If every girl is valued and given the same opportunities as boys; if she is free…from all forms of violence and discrimination, amazing things can happen—not only for the girl whose life is changed forever but for the whole world which becomes safer, happier and more balanced. (Yasmeen Hassan, Global Director of Equality Now)
  • In Prenatal Bonding, women have the most influence on the world, and also on men. When supported by men and their culture, they have the power to change the world, to create world peace.
  • And that brings us to the second extraordinary uniqueness of our time. And that is that 53% of the human race - meaning women - have, for the first time in human history, joined the human race as full partners... Women come rising in such a way that the genius of women is now feeding the universal mind pool in such a way that all problem solving will change. I think this is the most important event of the last 5,000 years. It literally changes all the ways that everything is seen... this makes for a different kind of mind. When I speak to corporations, I always yell at them, I say, "you are going to turn your women into good second-rate men and you are not appreciating the genius", which is a genius for seeing the gestalt, for seeing the whole constellation, for seeing the multiplicity of pattern and orchestrating it in such a way that everything works much better. Of course, this is the modern world, the planetary culture. So, this second uniqueness, of women rising, of course plays havoc on all relationships, because none of the old relationships work very well. But this is also at the point of releasing men to be what they can be - and perhaps ridding ourselves of the old polarities, and opening the way for deep transformational friendship between men and women. (Dr Jean Houston, 1987 'Sacred Psychology' talk at  London workshop, side one, 7m1s
  • Fuck work Economists believe in full employment. Americans think that work builds character. But what if jobs aren’t working anymore?... When work disappears, the genders produced by the labour market are blurred. When socially necessary labour declines, what we once called women’s work – education, healthcare, service – becomes our basic industry, not a ‘tertiary’ dimension of the measurable economy. The labour of love, caring for one another and learning how to be our brother’s keeper – socially beneficial labour – becomes not merely possible but eminently necessary, and not just within families, where affection is routinely available. No, I mean out there, in the wide, wide world. (James Livingston, Aeon, posted 25 November 2016, accessed 28 December 2016)
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Women as Peacebuilders and Community Builders

  • The rise of women is the most important event in the last five thousand years, because of women’s emphasis on process, on making things cohere, work, and grow, and not simply on product. (Dr Jean Houston, unknown date of posting, accessed 30 October 2014)
  • How different would things be if women owned and were part of the production of religious knowledge. Surely it's no coincidence that one of the first acts of social policy and justice in the Prophet's message was the banning of female infanticide so ubiquitously practised at birth by Arabs at the time. Therein lies a lesson for us all. (Hudu Jawad here, posted and accessed 20 May 2015)
  • “Women’s voices must be included in the peace process not only because they are victims of war but also, more importantly, because women are the most effective peacebuilders. In the conflict men have taken up arms while women are holding communities together; women have become stronger and better equipped to play a key role in securing real peace.” (Mouna Ghanem, Founder, Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace) On 22 January 2014, the United Nations (UN)-backed Geneva II peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition are scheduled to be held with the goal of ending the Syrian conflict and creating a transitional government. However, nearly 14 years after the landmark passage of  UN Security Council resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) calling on UN member states to “increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts,” no women have been included in the Syrian peace negotiations. In recent years, peace agreements around the world have fallen apart at a startling rate. Research and experience are increasingly pointing to one major explanation - the failure to include a broad range of stakeholders, especially women, in peace processes. The exclusion of Syrian women from the process not only undermines the promotion and protection of women’s human rights, but also reduces chances for a sustainable peace and future development for all Syrians. Women’s concerns are at the core of security concerns and sustainable peace and as UNSCR 1325 recognizes, including the voices of women in peacebuilding anywhere is not negotiable. The UN Secretary-General has specifically called upon UN member states, envoys and mediators to consult with women leaders and civil society organizations and to engage them in peacebuilding; yet Syrian women and civil society still do not have a seat at the table. To achieve a different outcome for the Syrian peace process, there must be a different approach! (Equality Now, accessed 19 December 2013)
  • When The Queen Is Happy, There's Peace In The Kingdom. (Unknown) 
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Two Sides of the River

(Cate Montana, posted and accessed 21 August 2013)

Once upon a time there was a planet filled with people who didn’t know the river of life has two equal sides to it, the mind and the heart. For thousands of years the heart and its wild emotions held sway, and the people danced and revelled and sang. Then the tables turned and the mind took over. Wonderful discoveries were made and technology flowered. But soon the Earth began to groan under the weight of progress. And the people forgot how to sing.

Where are your women?
Then one day the Uru-e-wau-wau tribe deep in the Brazilian rain forests sent a young shaman to America to learn about Western ways and culture. He’d been in the United States six months when he called his sponsor in a panic.

"Where are your women?" he cried.


"What do you mean where are our women?"

"Where are your women? What are they doing?"

His sponsor scratched his head. "Why, they’re busy working being teachers and doctors and bus drivers. They’re busy being wives and mothers. Why do you ask?"

The shaman said, "In our tribe men and women still dwell on the two different sides of the river of life and have very different roles. The men hunt and fish. They cut down trees for building canoes and huts. The women gather wild edibles, cook and take care of the children.

"Men and women equally take part in tribal council. But there’s one job that only the women can do, and it’s the most important job in the tribe. In fact, the survival of the tribe depends upon the women fulfilling this one task."

His sponsor was intrigued. "What task is that?" he asked.

The shaman replied, "It’s man’s nature to hunt until there’s no more game left, to fish until there are no more fish in the rivers, to cut down the trees until there are no more trees to cut.

"It’s woman’s nature to know the needs of the whole village and the needs of the earth. It’s the women’s job to tell the man when to stop."

"Why are your women not telling the men to stop?"

Another way to be?
An American journalist heard this story and it rocked her world. She looked at her life and realized that, like hundreds of millions of other women, she’d been raised on the men’s side of the river, cutting the trees, fishing the rivers and hunting the game. It had been wonderful and exciting and she felt proud she’d been as good as any man at her tasks. But she’d worked so hard and set such a brutal pace that at times she wondered what her life was for and whether there were more meaningful ways to live. She began to wonder if all the fish, all the animal skins and all the huts she’d acquired had been worth it. Perhaps there was another way to be? Haunted by the shaman’s story, driven to discover what made the women of the Uru-e-wau-wau tribe so powerful they could tell the men to STOP! She journeyed to the women’s side of the river to learn.

What does your heart say?
She did medicine ceremonies with Ayahuasceros deep in the Amazon; she climbed the peaks of the Andes and travelled to India to the Goddess temples. She was told: ‘Go into the body and be present and connect with it. Forget the mind and all its chatter. Listen. What does your heart say? Its voice is the wisest of all.’ But oh! It was hard! She’d forgotten how to listen to the unseen and the unspoken, forgotten how to trust what lay inside her! On the men’s side of the river she didn’t have time to listen. Had been trained to depend only on her mind; to use her body for only one thing; told her heart should belong to only one. No wonder she’d felt so frightened, weary and alone! She stayed on the women’s side of the river for many years remembering her connection with the Earth and the importance of the heart songs of others. Her own heart flowered and she grew strong in her love for herself and her caring for the world. Then one day she looked around and saw she’d been joined by so many sisters who once had dwelled on the men’s side of the river she couldn’t count the faces their numbers had grown so strong. Holding hands, singing, they crossed back over the waters to the men’s side to share what they’d remembered and learned. And the whole planet lived happily ever after as both mind and heart were finally joined as one.



Also see:-

Success for Society

Gender Pros & Cons

The Voices of Mothers
by Peggy O'Mara [external link]

Women & Failure

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