Thursday, October 28, 2010

Seek What They Sought


~Matsuo Basho

Of Note: One of the Millennium Development Goals is equality for girls and women. One commentator noted that it actually underlies all the other MDGs. The World Economic Forum recently released its 5th annual report on world gender inequality. 134 countries were ranked as to how much they had closed the gender gap in education, politics, health and economic opportunity. The very best country was Iceland which came in at 85%, followed closely by Norway at 84% and Finland at 83%. Sweden was up there too at 80%. At the other end of the spectrum was Yemen at 46%, Chad at 53% and Pakistan at 55%. The United States jumped 12 places to number 19 showing improvement in parity between the sexes while France fell precipitously from 18th to 46th place. One of the reasons for the changes in these two countries was attributed to the number of women in politics. As a matter of fact, guaranteeing a woman's place in politics is considered essential for the evolution of a country from developing to developed. For example, when the new Iraqi constitution was being considered, the minimum number of women in the parliament was explicitly stated. USAID is making an impact through another door--the Woman's Leadership Training in Economics program--whereby women from developing countries receive a full scholarship to obtain master's degrees in economics from U.S. universities. Upon receiving the degree, each scholar agrees to return to her country where she is expected to pursue a career in economic policy-making and public service. Women at the table make a difference. Research has shown that a group's collective intelligence is affected not by individual intelligence but by social sensitivity and the ability to make inferences, which according to the New York Times are skills women are more likely to possess then men. Many predict that when men and women share equally, freedom and peace will prevail. That is what the men of old sought, and in the days ahead, their dreams may come to fruition.

Today's Weather Report: Today it is overcast once more and 36 degrees Fahrenheit. The rain has apparently stopped, and the sunshine peeked out for a short time an hour ago before swiftly retreating once more. This is the tail-end of the worst storm to hit the Midwest in decades. Yesterday, we were without power during the first snow storm of the season. The electricity went out at 4 am yesterday and only returned this morning a bit after 9 am. It was like camping in the house. Not knowing how long the electricity would be out was the bad part but not that bad in the scheme of things. We decided it was a good test for all of our emergency supplies, which we found quite lacking. There is a reason people are advised to have one of each in a stockpile. Acquiring that little cache will be one of my next projects. Meditation does not require electricity, however, so the best part of my day continued unimpeded.