Ana Nogales, Ph.D.

Family Secrets

Peace Through Education

Through education, we can decrease stereotypes, discrimination, and racism.

Posted Aug 09, 2019

Dr.Nogales/Geneva
Source: Dr.Nogales/Geneva

I am writing this blog from Geneva, Switzerland, where I am attending a conference known as “Peace Through Education,” which was organized by Graduate-Women USA, an affiliate of Graduate Women International. Female representatives from 54 different countries attend this conference to discuss significant issues, such as world peace. Undoubtedly, we all desire to live in a peaceful world. Peace is necessary to create a stable foundation on which future generations can build their dreams.

Our history is filled with countless conquests, battles, and wars for the supposed sake of peace. Despite the tremendous number of lives lost, we have not been victorious. Our failure is evident around the world. There are countless countries in which religion is weaponized and esteemed over human lives, but it may be through the especially heinous treatment of girls and women that our failure is most evident.

In some places, women continue to be used as currency to settle debts. In many, women continue to be viewed as nothing more than sexual or reproductive objects. In parts of Latin America, for instance, women continue to be second-class citizens while corrupt politicians further their own interests and ambitions at the expense of the people. Like it or not, this is also evident in the United States.

We think we can accomplish peace through war—what a contradiction! However, even within our history, we can find alternatives for creating and preserving peace, such as education. An unfettered access to information exposes persons to that which they do not know or understand. It is through a new understanding that a cultural transformation takes place, and it is only then that peace can exist. Through education and understanding, we decrease stereotypes, discrimination, and racism.

If we look at certain groups of people around the world who believe they are superior to other groups of people, we see them rallying behind an identity built on ethnicity, race, religion, or even gender. The only way to end these prejudices, which are the basis for human hatred, is through education, which, until now, has not been very effective.

© Can Stock Photo / michaeljung
Source: © Can Stock Photo / michaeljung

Historically, it was (and in some places, still is) men who have had the privilege of an education while women were restricted to domestic roles, such as rearing children and maintaining homes. Although this is an important and noble responsibility, it is not enough for women and it is not enough for the world.

However, educated women threaten the patriarchal structure on which our society is built, which is the very structure that belittles and victimizes women, or even silences outspoken women by denigrating their ideas by telling her “you look better when your mouth is shut.” Nevertheless, we must strive to promote education to all women around the world. There is hope that with better educated women, understanding and communication between groups of people will improve.