Friday, February 29, 2008

The Changing Image of Women

When I returned to school a few years ago, one of the first classes I took was Westward Expansion in U.S. History. I thought the class would be a easy start for my return to academia, [IE] all about cowboys and Indians. But, to my surprise the class theme was the role that people other than white guys played in the American frontier experience. It was eye opening and I came away with a new respect for the other people, made up of ethnic groups and woman of all races. History has overlooked much of the contributions made by women in particular. The last decades have seen a shift to focus on their accomplishments and achievements. That professor, Dr. Gordon Bakken, has been a leader in championing the role of women in western history.Gordon Bakken homepage. He opened my eyes and pointed the way to a new understanding of American History.

A few items caught my eye today as I scanned the blogs. The first is led off by Steve DeAngelis who writes on his blog that Nerds get Curves. He notes that teenage girls are becoming prolific computer geeks. That is not to say that they will enter the field of computer science. DeAngelis writes:

That as Thomas Barnett, noted on his blog that girls around the world are starting to be appreciated more [To go Core is to value daughters]. As father of daughter, this is a trend I'm pleased to see. It is also a concomitant benefit of globalization that rarely gets mentioned. I do think that as more young girls become familiar with technology more of them will eventually get interested in the technical side of IT. These, however, will be the girls who are fascinated with how things are done (i.e., how the programs work) rather than the girls who are fascinated by what's done with them (i.e., content created for the Web). We are all better off when half of humanity is neither sidelined nor pigeon-holed into stereotyped roles. We need all of the help we can get from all of the best minds available to help solve the challenges headed our way.

Supporting this trend has been the enrollment in post-secondary schools for the past decade in the United States. At Colleges, Women Are Leaving Men in the Dust - New York Times.

Along that line, I am reminded of several young women who are up and coming minds on their way to becoming the kind of people that Steve and Tom are writing about. I have posted before about one who labeled herself (Metacognition) on her myspace page.A Resilient Nation, and is looking to make her mark in international business.

Another, is a daughter of Vietnam, who had such a passion for history that she goes to school three nights a week completing her degree, as she works full time at a demanding career.

One other, a daughter of Egypt and Persia, graduated with honors with a degree in film and television. Her goal is not to be an actress, although she has the talent and looks, but to be a director, and win an Oscar for that achievement.

That brings me to an article I found linked on Small Wars Journal's editorial review for February 29th. It's author will surprise you, Staying to Help in Iraq I will let you read the article to see who it is: note the final paragraph. A hint it is a woman not famous for being a diplomat.

As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.

Turning to the other side of the World, a post on Shangaiist blog notes that China is ending their one-child policy that caused countless baby girls to be aborted over the past decades.China to end one-child policy? What this means is that China like the rest of the World is taking note of the value of women and that civilization can not flourish without their Full participation.

This post is not to glorify women over men, it is to recognize that if you educate and empower women, the next generation will be even more prepared for the ever expanding universe of information humans are required to master.

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