Imagine a world in which every girl was provided an equal, safe, free, and quality education. According to the World Bank, women are 49.558% of the population in 2016. Despite progress, access continues to be denied. Globally, educated women have higher incomes, more control in family planning, and increased political power. It’s time to equal the playing field.
The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative is working at the forefront for gender equality. Of important note is UNGEI’s Economic Impacts of Child Marriage: Global Synthesis Report. From the study: “The primary motivation for ending the practice should be the fact that it may lead to substantial risks and suffering for the girls who marry early and their children. Child marriage curtails the opportunities provided to young girls and their children. The evidence of the negative impacts of the practice on a wide range of outcomes is clear. But in addition, the practice has large economic costs. The hope is that the demonstration of these costs will help generate higher investments aiming to end child marriage and early childbirths, and promote instead girls’ education.”
Structures of gender inequality must be eliminated. As a female artist, I utilize my practice as a tool for advocacy. Progress has been good but not enough. For example, a standard women’s bathroom sign is repurposed altering its function. Some dreams continue to be labels and not reality in PRESIDENT:
In FIRE & FURY, a standard braille sign expands its definition. Since taking office, President Trump has escalated tensions with North Korea by threatening “fire and fury.” According to TIME magazine: “Women make up more than half the U.S. population…the fact remains that in 2016, women held just 23% of government offices.” What if women grabbed back with fire and furry against unreasonable aggression? Women must stand firm against unacceptable behavior and set the standard for humanity.
Education for women internationally is key to changing oppressive structures and institutions. Activist leader Malala Yousafzai is an example for the future. The Nobel Peace Prize winner survived a Taliban attack while on a school bus. Yousa: “Let us pick up our books and pencils. They are our most powerful weapon.”