Jul 31st, 2007
The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment. `Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í writings
Sustainable development, poverty eradication, peace. Humanity is struggling with these issues daily. Maybe one of the reasons is that humanity hasn’t yet travelled far enough down its road to know how to use the strength of women and their wisdom to tackle them.
This week 1500 Soroptimists from around the world have converged on the amazing conference centre and science centre in Glasgow to learn how they can influence those processes that will make the world more live-in-able for everyone.
Don’t know what a Soroptimist is? Meaning, `best for women’, a Soroptimist is a professional woman dedicated to working towards developing the quality of life for women and children. Soroptimists aim to provide a global voice for women on issues that directly affect them – and therefore everyone. They lobby governments, give practical help and finance projects across boundaries.
Today climate change expert Professor Peter Cox offered an excellent, accessible yet scientific analysis of global warming. He confirmed what I had learned the International Environment Forum’s climate change conference last September – climate change has happened, we have caused it, we can mitigate its effects but we have a very small window of time in which to do so.
Asked about those scientists who disagree with his analysis, he laughed and said that scientists are in the business of not agreeing with each other. Pressed on how many scientists thought as he did compared to those who disagreed, he said it was about the same as the number of people sitting in the audience (1500) compared to the number speaking at the podium (1).
Professor Mary Renfrew, working in the field of mother and infant health research impressed upon us how small things, such as training birth attendants and having them actually attend births, can reduce infant and mother mortality dramatically.
HRH The Princess Royal also attended today and spoke about the importance of working with women in ways they themselves could sustain. I would like to say I have known her for years, which is true, as I met her several times when I was working for Save the Children – she is their patron – in the 1980s. She, of course, has no idea who I am. But I will say I hugely admire her and her dedicated work on behalf of children and their mothers.
The rest of the conference looks set to be just as excellent – a true example of humanity taking to the skies.