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The top ten myths about women (and the heroes who bust them)

The top ten myths about women (and the heroes who bust them)

CARE has an interactive feature to their website on the myths people cling to hold women back and the “heroes” who have changed perceptions:

In many places around the world, myths hold back half of society. Myths yank girls out of school. Myths cause hunger. Myths mean women don’t get the health care they need. Myths kill. But throughout history, and still today, courageous women – and men – have worked tirelessly to knock giant holes in age-old myths in the pursuit of gender equality.

These are people who have overcome seemingly impossible circumstances to live healthier, safer and more fulfilling lives. They are nothing short of heroes, and each month you can come back here to read their stories.

Six of the 10 “heroes” have been revealed. The site pairs a myth (“Girls can’t do math or science”) with a person who proved otherwise (Marie Curie, multiple Nobel Prize winner).

The latest entry is “Women can’t be trusted with money”, and the hero is Ela Bhatt of India:

When asked what drove her to help poor women find economic autonomy, Ela Bhatt credits the society that shaped her early years. “I grew up in a time around India’s independence,” she said. “It was a heady and idealistic time, and we were all infected with a spirit of optimism.”

Yet Bhatt, a mother of two, understood how too many of the world’s women were destitute — and often unable to shape their own financial destiny. As she practiced law — a rarity for women at the time — she saw the desperation and hopelessness of her clients. “The injustice was flagrant, and that was what hurt the most. That was why and how the working poor remained poor, how they had no recognition, no vote, no policies … no budgets to provide support,” she said. “That tugged at my heart.”

That newfound energy helped Bhatt break barriers — first becoming a lawyer, defending textile union workers, and then becoming the founder of several groups that have uplifted poor women’s economic standing. They include the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) — India’s largest trade union with more than 1.2 million members — as well as the All India Association of Micro Finance Institutions and the Women’s World Bank.

“From social work to factories, agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, dairies, hand looming, health care, childcare, handicrafts, providing shelter — all the employment sectors of any society — that is where women are …” she said.

The creative website is doing its job to tell the true stories worldwide.

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Bill Dilworth

Oddly enough, I grew up thinking that girls were better with math and money than boys. The first is probably because I had such crappy math skills myself, the second because my mother always handled the family's finances.

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Ann Fontaine

or S/heroes

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