Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Poverty Ends with Her: This Year’s Culminating Just Desserts Event

"Study after study has taught us that there is no tool more effective for development than the empowerment of women."
- UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan

 Our last Just Desserts of the academic year, which took place on March 22, offered a unique, inspiring, and thought-provoking way to prepare for Greg Mortenson’s much-anticipated visit  to the Gonzaga campus.  Entitled “Poverty Ends with Her” and centered on the undeniable benefits of educating all female residents of world, the evening’s activities provided much insight into why and how we should become involved in addressing gender disparities and empowering girls and women of all ages and backgrounds, in all global settings.  It also served as yet another testament to the value of an education.
The event’s panelists were: Dr. Mary Jeannot, Professor and Founder/Director of the MA/TESL Program and TESOL Abroad Program at Gonzaga University; Jessie Rogers, Student and International Relations Major, Currently Writing a Thesis on The Girl Effect; Dr. Vandana Asthana, Professor and Expert in Asian Politics; and Dr. Laura Brunell, Professor of the Women in Comparative Societies class* (*which had graciously helped organize and prepare this JD) and Chair of the Political Science  Department.
Through Dr. Jeannot, Jessie, Dr. Asthana, and Dr. Brunell’s reflections and anecdotes, all those in attendance were reminded of the role educating women can play in improving economic growth, community development, national infrastructure, credit/training services, access to health care, prevalence of HIV/AIDS, agricultural yield, maternal health, childhood mortality, political development, and peace within a given region.
Jessie shared powerful statistics and enlightening quotes on all of the aforementioned topics, including the following:
o   171 million people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills –  an equivalent to a 12% cut in world poverty.
o   Carol Bellamy, former Executive Director of UNICEF, stated: “Education is crucial to success against the pandemic. In fact, UNICEF remains convinced that until an effective remedy is found, education is… the most effective tools for curbing AIDS.”
o    According to Because I am a Girl (OECD statistics), countries with the lowest number of girls in education lie at the bottom of the human development tables.
o   An extra year of education increases a girls’ income by 10 to 20 per cent.
o   Child marriage is the norm in societies where girls are considered the possessions of others and is a manifestation of girls’ powerlessness
§  36% of women ages 20 to 24 had been married as children
§  1 in 7 girls in the developing world will marry before the age of 15
o   UNFPA: 7+ years of education = marrying 4 yrs later, having 2.2 fewer kids
§  Infant mortality is reduced by 5 to 10 percent with each year of schooling the mother receives.
§  Children of mother with 5yrs schooling are 40 percent more likely to live past age 5.
§  Increased time in school boosts the survival rate, nutrition, and overall health for
o   “Gender inequality hurts economic  growth” – Goldman Sachs.
o   According to the World Bank, a 1% increase in the share of women with secondary education boosts annual per capita income growth by 0.3 percentage points
o   Making household heads literate in the bottom per capita quartile will raise rural primary school enrollment by 18%
o   Robert B. Zoellick, President of World Bank once informed us, “Investing in adolescent girls is precisely the catalyst poor countries need to break intergenerational poverty and to create a better distribution of income. Investing in them is not only fair;  it is a smart economic move.”

After this informative program, the night concluded (as each Just Desserts always does) with a collective call to action.  Participants vowed to overcome poverty and the disempowerment of women through simple steps, including the following (as compiled from the statements collected from each audience member): Raise awareness within our communities so that we can educate ourselves and others; take a TESOL class to be able to teach local refugees and girls in developing countries; support  NGO’s efforts to fund schools, students, and teachers; and continue learning and praying about true equality.
It was difficult not to become inspired and hopeful after witnessing such compelling accounts and visible conviction.

 Post-script #1:
Here is a short list of amazing follow-up reading on the topic* (*as compiled by Jessie Rogers:

New Lessons: The Power of Educating Adolescent Girls; A Girls Count Report on Adolescent Girls
Cynthia B Lloyd and Juliet Young
Population Council, 2009

Girls Speak: A New Voice in Global Development
Margaret E. Greene, Laura Cardinal, and Eve Goldstein-Siegel
International Center for Research on Women, 2010

Start with a Girl: A New Agenda for Global Health

MiriamTemin and Ruth Levine

Center for Global Development, 2010


Girls Count: A Global Investment & Action Agenda; A Girls Count Report On Adolescent Girls

Ruth Levine, Cynthia B. Lloyd, Margaret Greene, and Caren Grown
The Center for Global Development, 2009

Because I am a Girl: The State of the World’s Girls 2009
Plan International, 2009

Collier, Paul. The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It.

Kristof, Nicholas D. and Sheryl WuDunn. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

Mortenson, Greg. Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace through Education in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Mortenson, Greg and David Oliver Relin. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time.
Coalition for Adolescent Girls http://www.coalitionforadolescentgirls.org/about 
International Center for Research on Women http://www.icrw.org/what-we-do 
United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative http://www.ungei.org/whatisungei/index.html 

Post-script #2:
Although “Poverty Ends with Her” marked the end of the Just Desserts series, it’s never too early to begin thinking about next year!  Find out more about JD at http://www.gonzaga.edu/justdesserts and contact Hilary Case at case@gonzaga.edu if you have any ideas or potential collaborations.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Student Reflection about Face AIDs

“Education is the movement from darkness to light.”  ~Allan Bloom

Gonzaga FACE AIDS is a student run organization consisting of less than seven quirky and driven individuals brought together with one common goal: build a global youth movement to fight against HIV/AIDS. We represent the Gonzaga University chapter of the national organization, FACE AIDS.   Our program has grown and developed a lot in the past year under the insightful management of sophomore, Kaya Mills.

Our chapter is twofold, including an awareness branch to increase knowledge about HIV/AIDS around campus and in our community, and a branch that focuses on raising funds to donate to Partners in Health. Both programs have hosted on campus events this year including a yoga class, a trivia night, informational tables outside Crosby, pin and t-shirt sales, movie showings, and even a benefit concert featuring the Danger Bears.

The events are slowing as our scholastic year draws to a close, but have transitioned to a more informative objective for these final months on campus. We have decided to post important statistics about HIV/AIDS on the wall to make an impact on the students who pass by. It is our hope that GU students will “get informed and stay protected.” At each meeting (Wednesday nights at 9pm in lower CCASL) we also have an educational segment where one member researches and lead a discussion about an aspect of HIV/AIDS.

We are very excited to continue to promote awareness and raise money with innovative ideas and programs that are applicable to our student body. If you are interested in getting involved or joining our cause, please contact Kaya Mills at kmills2@zagmail.gonzaga.edu.

This was written by Corinne Gould