Monday, March 13, 2017

Women's Rights & Religion with Students Across the Globe

Last week my religion students in Virginia participated in an amazing video conference about women rights on International Woman's Day with schools in Indonesia and Mexicali.

Students first listened to Iraqi women's advocate, Dr. Basma Habib, talk about women in Kurdistan. The picture she painted stunned the students. She talked about the death of some young women for merely talking to boys. These were honor killings and she told students that too many women were killed for stupid reasons.

One of the first questions students asked Dr. Habib was whether her work against gender violence ever put her own safety in jeopardy. She said that her writing did cause problems but noted that the lack of women's rights in Kurdistan demonstrated the need for more advocates.

A Mexican student asked Dr. Habib what measures women take to reduce cultural differences in Kurdistan. She said that women have to "want" to fight for human rights and that the desire has to come from "inside."

Another student asked Dr. Habib what she she would say to men who used religion to deny women's rights. "You have to ask what texts these people are using when they use religion to deny rights," she told students.

The dialog was intense and so engrossing that the moderator added an additional five minutes to the conference. Dr. Habib told students that this was one of best women's days she had ever had because  she met so many great students!

All of this was possible because of Generation Global, an international organization started by Prime Minister Tony Blair, to bring together students of different cultures and religions through dialog.

The organization provides a a moderator for each conference as well access to a bank of lesson plans from teaching about effective dialogue to the way different religions view human rights.

Our conference  included the three schools, a moderator in New Delhi, and a speaker in Iraq.

1 comment:

  1. This is a powerful post. Thanks for sharing the information about Generation Global. I will check it out!