UPDATE: Innovative Ideas From Women in the World Summit
NEW YORK, USA March 24, 2010 – The Daily Beast, host of the recent Women in the World Summit in New York, has published a list of the six most innovative ideas to come out of the conference. Number one on the “Solutions Cheat Sheet” is advice from Tostan’s Executive Director Molly Melching.
The innovative idea? Get men on board!
Without the support of local men and backing from the community, there is little hope for female empowerment. Molly Melching reminds the world that female genital cutting (FGC) is a complex issue because often, women support the practice as they believe it is necessary in order to find a husband. Some believe that it bestows a certain societal status.
“It’s like their initiation into a higher level of womanhood,” Melching explained to The Daily Beast. The solution, therefore, is to show men that change is in their own interests, that a woman who has undergone a harmful traditional practice will not necessarily be a better mother or homemaker and to introduce that human rights are due to all people, men and women.
Other innovative ideas from the conference include paying families that embrace change (and send daughters to school), publicizing victims’ stories (which lifts stigmas and keeps political leaders from ignoring problems), supporting women through Microcredit (which can turn individuals into entrepreneurs), giving a woman a phone (to promote independent communication and leveling inequalities in access to information), and building bridges (which brings populations together to demand an end to a terrible conflict).
Read more about the ideas proposed by Tostan and other innovative organizations here.