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'All roads lead to women'

Afghanistan, May 6, 2011

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This afternoon Gayle Tzemach Lemmon talked with Mercy Corps’ communications director Joy Portella and supporters from around the country and the world about the importance of investing in women -- a theme of her New York Times bestselling book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana.

This topic is clearly near to Gayle’s heart -- she is intensely passionate and extremely eloquent when talking about unsung heroines around the world who are transforming their communities.

Take a few minutes and listen for yourself, click here to download a recording of the webinar.

Here are a few of Gayle’s answers to questions posed by supporters on the webinar that inspired me the most:

Why do women matter to Afghanistan’s future?
Women matter in Afghanistan for the same reason they matter around the world; because they are contributors and allies in the fight to create a more secure world… I really do hope that a book like The Dressmaker of Khair Khana reminds people of the women who are fighting everyday for something better for their children and the next generation.

What are some of the feelings about girls’ education in Afghanistan?
What will make the change is that people will see that girls’ education is not a threat but really is a contributor. And a lot of families start to see these girls as role models, as to start to see them as Afghans who have succeeded. And succeeded not in a commercial sense but succeeded in making a difference and are contributing to their communities.

What do you think is the key to Afghanistan’s future?
All roads lead to women, because you can make families healthier when women have better maternal health, you can make both boys and girls educated when women are educated because their children are more likely to go to school. You can get families moving from survival to one or two levels above that when women have income coming into the family and are economically strengthened…. Investing in women really does make the difference for communities, while also of course not forgetting men.