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Advancing Women’s Rights Begins with Educating Children

The second day of the 12th Annual World Summit of the Nobel Peace Laureates was all about the ladies.

A Tuesday panel,Women Forging Peace,” focused on the peace-seeking efforts of women and featured Undo Janz, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Caryl Stern, of the United Nations Children’s Fund, Suzanne Nossel, US Executive Director of Amnesty International, Jody Williams, who has worked to ban landmines and Shirin Ebadian attorney who worked for human rights in Iran.

Most of the discussion focused on women’s rights around the world and also touched on the idea that one person can make a difference, a theme from an earlier morning panel.  The audience was filled with students from various schools who got a chance to ask the panel questions, and many sought advice on how young women can start change and speak up for themselves.

It was noted that if people want to see change, they should take the initiative to be that one person trying to make change. The panelists encouraged students in the audience and others who were watching online via live streaming to become that one person.

“The first step is education,” said Stern, who said that all efforts will go nowhere without proper education. She said that it all starts with children, and the key to change is to focus on them.

Williams briefly referenced her childhood while explaining how she developed an interest in women’s rights. She said that as a child, her parents treated her and her brother equally. It was when she experienced different treatment outside of the household that her eyes were opened to the injustices. She agreed with Stern that the fight for peace starts with education and that changes need to happen there.

“Stop teaching history through the glorification of war, “ she said, recalling her high school history class. “There is nothing heroic about war.”

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