Monday, October 02, 2006

Women, in Islam and the West.

The world's latest space tourist is back on earth. Not the first , not the last, the second woman, and the first of Iranian descent.

Anousheh Ansari (view her space blog here) is the 4th private spacer, and her story is inspirational;

"...A living example of the American dream, Anousheh immigrated to the United States as a teenager who did not speak English. She immersed herself in education, earning a bachelor’s degree in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University, followed by a master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University. She is currently working toward a master’s degree in astronomy from Swinburne University...".

Could she have achieved what she has for business, herself and her country or community in Iran. No way. One of the great weaknesses of the Islamic world is that they effectively cross off half the prospective talent (ie women) from having a truly meaningful input into the various aspects of society, be that business, politics, or science. Oh I know there have been women PMs in Pakistan, and women attend college in Saudi Arabia, but that cannot compare to the full involvement they have in western society. Such cases are the exception rather than the rule.
(1st 2 images courtesy )

Just as 'Rosie the Riveter' had a profound effect on the allies ability to wage WW2, so demographics work in the west's favour. The Islamic world is younger, ill-educated, and their treatment of women reduces their effective ranks by about half. One society looks back to a mediaeval model, one forward to an optimistic future.

I'm a father. I want a future where my daughter is not limited in what she can achieve, or contribute. We can view the future through somewhat different and optimistic eyes (as this Feb 1988 National Geographic image of an outback farmer and his daughter symbolize), and not cross off half of the human resources of a society.


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