Unpopular Worldview, Important Understanding
Through all of the events that I have attending while at the UN, there has been the underlying issue of Comprehensive Sexual Education and “Family Planning.” All of these nations and advocates for women’s rights seem to believe that the root of the gender equality issue is that women need to have access to contraceptives, safe abortion services, and children need to be educated on sexuality. The minority in these events is the unpopular worldview that the traditional family unit needs to be brought back to the center of society in order for women to be empowered.
Why is the Family So Important?
The most recent event I attended this afternoon was titled “The Thriving Family: The Best Social Protection and Empowerment for Women and Girls” and it was quite interesting in that it approached major issues in today’s society, within any culture, but with solutions that come from a family-oriented perspective. Before we are able to tackle the more complicated issues such as social protection and Sexual Reproductive Heath Right (SRHR) we must first tackle the very first social environment that a child is born into, and that is the family. One of the distinguished panelists names Lynn Walsh who is the Director for the Office of the Family with the Universal World Peace Foundation provided many insightful statistics based on extensive research to show that the core issue for many social problems in today’s society is that children, especially young girls, are growing up in chaotic homes without stable parents. It has been shown that marriage reduces the risk of poverty and instability in a child’s life. This is such a broad statement yet solves so many issues. Before we are able to talk about SRHR and abortion, we must first address the fact that throughout the globe there are millions of women and girls living in extreme poverty situations and just by these children growing up in homes with married parents, their chances of living in poverty decreases. It has also been shown that single mothers are at a higher risk for domestic violence and that risk is even higher when that mother has more than one child. This is due to the extreme vulnerability and desperation for emotional connections and support that these women face.
Are you seeing a pattern? Marriage. Stability. Support. Consistency. The presence of a father. It is no lie and definitely not understated that women and mothers are incredibly strong. That mothers carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. That mothers and the women of the world have such an incredible impact that is like no other. But what happens when we take out that mother’s system of support from her spouse? When we remove that source of encouragement and love received from a father in a child’s life? The mother, who already does so much, is left to improvise. She is left to deal with the issues presented in her own life while fighting to be a role model and support system for her child as well. When a child grows up in an unstable environment and especially with an absent father, she either forms an unhealthy reliance on men, or unhealthy distrust in men. Through this discussion the importance of the role of the father in empowering women and young girls was brought forth.
Empowering Fathers to Empower Their Daughters
Science has shown that the brain structure between men and women are significantly different. This shows that the strengths between men and women are also very different. In knowing this, it is no surprise that having a mother and a father present in a child’s life would make an impact. According to studies, present fathers tend to have a greater impact in areas challenging their daughters intellectually, focusing on problem solving rather than complaining, increasing language development, getting their daughters to try new and difficult things, and many other things. When there is a father present not only is an impact made on the child’s life, but on the mother’s as well. This is not to say that in certain circumstances, a father would not be beneficial in a daughter’s life as there are many cases of extreme abuse and neglect. This is to say that when as a society we are encouraging and bringing the traditional family, including the father, back to the center of our policies, legislation, and social structure, we are able to truly empower women, young girls, and all of our society.
This is an incredibly lengthy and complicated topic that, while it may seem simple, it can get very tedious. Legislation and policies must stop trying to hit the problem on the head and get at by the roots. By solving the issue of children growing up in abusive, single parent, and unstable homes, we are able to create a chain reaction and create a solution for these bigger issues at hand.