A Woman’s Right to Excel

I live in New York where recently I have been receiving a relentless flow of mail and email from the Women’s Equality Party.

Speaking about gender inequality a few days ago, President Obama commented. ‘‘The idea that my daughters wouldn’t have the same opportunities as somebody’s sons, well that’s unacceptable.”

I am in favor of equality. It should be deeply held and commonly acknowledged by all people that opportunities for education, jobs, healthcare, and civil rights belong to all of us equally. I believe that it is self-evident that opportunities should be gender, race, religion, orientation and culture blind. To my mind, this is not debatable.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index measures the global gender gap in four fundamental areas: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. Clearly the gap is far wider in many countries than in the USA, but even here, women are too often the victims of a bad tradition of gender discrimination.

If opportunities can be made available equally for all, the foundational step will have been secured. But if gender discrimination disappears, aptitude and qualification will still rule. Women, given more opportunities, will need to be playing at the top of their game. They’ll need focus, energy, creativity, stamina, and emotional stability—and they’ll need a simple effective way to dissolve stress and fatigue. The twice-daily practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique has been shown to accomplish all of that.

But if our goal is just a level playing field on which women could display excellence, we’d be setting the bar too low; the ideal is to maximize everyone’s capacity to do well in each category, whatever their gender. In all four areas measured by the global index, the development of consciousness—the unfoldment of a person’s full mental, physical, and emotional potential—can help achieve that goal.

The whole population of the nation will find that it benefits everyone to support and nourish the potential of women—it will enhance relationships, family life, economic achievement and society’s life.

Countries with higher levels of gender equality have higher economic growth. Companies with more women on their boards have higher returns. Peace agreements that include women are more successful. Parliaments with more women take up a wider range of issues – including health, education, anti-discrimination, and child support. 

Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations

About the Author

Anita Warner is a retired Vice President, Institutional Fixed Income Sales on Wall Street

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