Women, girls & education

Man it’s been a busy month. For the past few weeks I’ve been working on my very first educational research paper. By research paper I don’t mean the ‘find 5 sources to support your ideas’ kind, but the ‘find a hole in all educational research, review 15+ sources scholarly studies, determine the problem and propose how you could address this in the educational research field’ kind. If you’re reading this and it’s something you’re good at…give me a shout. I think I could use a pep talk haha!

Image result for half the sky quotesIt just so happens that my free time has been consisted of reading and addressing women’s issues, so naturally when I had to choose a topic for this research paper my eyes turned to women in education.

Over the past month or so I had the privilege of reading Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof, and Sheryl WuDunn.

I’ve also been able to read and watch Girl Rising, a film and adapted book that follow the stories of young women and girls in communities around the world that limit their access to education based on their gender.

Also as part of a group I volunteer with, called the Open World Cause, we are working on developing a new project called What Will I Become. It’s been a really cool learning experience for me as I work with two other brilliant women in the cause that have amazing experiences abroad. We are working on surveys to talk with women in the Nepali community we’ll be visiting this summer to learn more about their education, the expectations laid upon them, and their dreams. In the end we hope to create a curriculum that can be used here in the United States within k-12 classrooms.

Talk about Girl Power.

This morning, after reading 10 studies about gender stereotyping and adequacy of curriculum relating to women representation, I was feeling EMPOWERED. If I’ve learned anything through these articles, the books, and the documentaries, it could be summed up in a few bullet points:

  • Educating girls changes communities, changes their futures, teaches them skills to support families, reduces number of pregnancies, reduces sex trafficking and helps break cycles of poverty.
  • Education in general addresses changes that need to be made in order to lower the maternal mortality rate.
  • Education informs communities of vital changes that need to be made in respect to gender based violence and traditions that are harmful to women’s health.
  • Education that addresses equality and importance of both women and men shapes the thinking of our students.
  • Educators must be aware of the materials being used, and choose literature and resources that show the importance of diversity to our students. That is just as much something they need to learn, as any other subject in school (if you ask me).

Though there are approximately 129468 other things I’ve learned, these are a few points that have stuck with me. This isn’t a blog post saying women are better than men, but saying that women should be valued for the amazing contributions they can make in this world. Men supporting women in communities around the world help make this viewpoint a reality in many cultures, hence the importance of educating men on these issues as well.

It’s always good to challenge your viewpoint and learn something new.

Follow the links about to watch or read some of the resources I’ve be reading/watching above. Enjoy these words, grab some wine, maybe your favorite women, and have some awesome discussions.

 

 

 

~Shelby

When in Rome

One year ago today the Millers were in Italy taking in the sights, eating all the gelato and experiencing beauty as we walked down the narrow cobblestone streets. This day last year we were in Rome, specifically. Exploring the city felt like we had stepped back in time. The architecture and ancient history was very evident as we took it all in.

The amazing thing about travel is the chance to broaden your view of the world. Seeing how other people live their day to day lives is so fascinating. Perhaps the craziest thing to me was to see modern life happening around these ancient structures. The Colosseum bold and still standing strong was breath taking. The intricate details of each church was unmatched and there was a quiet hush as we entered them for a better view.

Sitting in those many churches in Italy brought perspective. The church and God’s people were the heart beat of so many places we visited on our trip. Take time to go somewhere new and experience putting yourself out of your comfort zone. It allows a lot of room for reflection. Just having that childish sense of awe over beautiful things and large buildings is humbling. We are all part of making history right now. It is exciting to think about what impact each of us might have if we follow our God given paths. We were all made for the same greatness that was visibly evident in the beautiful cities we visited.

Kathleen, my mother-in-law, sent out a great reminder today including some verses that rang true for her about the trip. I asked her if I could share because they were too good not to! To tie in scripture to these great experiences really helps me to enjoy the beauty of our trip again and again:

Exodus 36:5

The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done. (This verse is about the building of the tabernacle, but makes me think of all the time, devotion and gifts dedicated to building the beautiful cathedrals and churches.)

Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is He who made us and we are His.
We are his people, the sheep of all his pasture.
Enter His gates of Thanksgiving and his courts with praise.
Give thank to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; 
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

(The response we felt as we experienced the beautiful churches and his beautiful creation and the reminder of His faithfulness through ALL generations.)

Psalm 90:1-2
Lord you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

(All that we saw and experienced to me was a great reminder that God has been and always will be our dwelling place – He is everlasting!)

Romans 1:7

To all in in Rome (or who have been there) who are loved by God and called to be saints. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Thanks Kathleen!

~Shelby