Helping You Define Your Lifestyle

Barriers and Benefits to Women’s Development

Just over half of the world’s population is made up f women. Yet, they continue to be oppressed, underrepresented in government, and have fewer opportunities and rights. Women like Senator Nenadi Esther, from Southern Kaduna in Nigeria, are hugely important to drive forward change, but they remain few and far between. Not only is it rare to see a woman take on a position of minister in state government, it is even rarer for them to do this in the economic and financial field. Nenadi Esther Usman is the former finance minister from Kaduna, Nigeria, and she has been, and continues to be, a role model for women all over the world.

Usman believes that the key reason why women do not participate in politics in developing countries, is because of socio-cultural aspects. Nenadi is very aware of the fact that women continue to be subordinate of men within most African social structures. Hence, the role of the woman is stereotyped according to the patriarchy, and this is a huge barrier. Women simply do not know they can move outside of the domestic duties. And this is why women like Esther are so important, because they show another way is possible.

What Nenadi Esther Usman saw in her position as minister, is how much the policy-making process is influenced by the socio-cultural aspects. Because government is made up mainly of men, policies tend to be gender stereotyping, biased, and masculine. Nenadi is unique not just because she took on a senior position in government, but also because her focus was not on welfare, education, or health. Rather, she was at the heart of creating policies that upheld the interests of women.

Esther Usman has also worked very hard to increase women’s independence and knowledge of the political arena. Education for her, is key to empowerment and to increase participation of women in all levels of society. Nenadi Esther understands that educated women are stronger women. Education makes women independent and allows them to make their own decisions in terms of their work, and their reproductive self.

Esther Nenadi Usman has seen how educating women and ensuring they can enter employment has also helped to significantly reduce poverty rates. When women are able to participate in the development of their own society, they are also empowered to become more equal in social relationships. Furthermore, educated women have more awareness of their own health, including their reproductive health. Last but not least, educated women inspire other women to achieve the same things. This is something that is seen strongly in Esther Nenadi Usman, who not only broke out of the stereotypies by entering a high position in government, but also by marrying a man of a different faith of hers. She has shown women that another life is possible, a life in which they have equal rights and equal opportunities. Women like Usman are inspirations for thousands and, in so doing, they also encourage women to not just demand rights, but take them.

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5 ways to protect your children while you’re away

As a parent, you probably spend a lot of time worrying about your children’s safety. That feeling is amplified when you’re away on business or working. It’s never easy leaving a child unsupervised. In fact, depending on their age it could also be illegal to leave them alone or unattended.

However, if your kids are old enough to spend a few hours alone at home but young enough to be at some risk, you need to take certain precautions before you leave them. Here are five ways you can protect your kids while you’re away:

  1. Install surveillance

Surveillance cameras could be your best bet to monitor the house and make sure your children are safe. Try to get an integrated system that hooks up to the internet and lets you livestream video while you’re away. Also, inform your alarm company about the hours you’ll be away so that they can be more alert. Leave signs and posters around the house to advertise your security. This is probably the best way to deter burglars and keep your kids safe.

  1. Create an illusion

Another great way to keep your kids safe is to create the illusion that you’re at home. Leave some of the lights on and keep a pile of unopened mail out the front door. You can even invest in timers that schedule turning lamps on and off. Attackers won’t target a house if they think the whole family is at home.

  1. Keep It Off Social Media

A surefire way to put your kids at risk is to broadcast your location on social media. If you’re travelling or working, keep it off social media so that no one knows your kids are unattended. Nearly eight out of ten burglars use social media to figure out your location before planning an attack.

  1. Trust a friend

If you’ve got a friend who lives close by, get them to check on your kids regularly. You can even ask a neighbour to drop in from time to time. Perhaps the best way to keep your kids safe is to hire a professional babysitter while you’re away.

  1. Train Your Kids

Teach your kids all the basics of being safe while you’re not around. Speak to them openly about the risks and make sure they know the dangers of talking to strangers or leaving the house without permission. Give them a spare pair of keys if you think they can handle it. Get them to check on the electricals and gas stoves. Make sure they have all the emergency contact numbers they might need.

It’s never easy leaving your kids unattended. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable. Make sure you’ve taken all the necessary precautions if you have to step out for a few hours or more.

How to Pick the Right Boarding School

Having a great education sets the foundation for success. Statistics show that those who receive a great education, on average do much better in just about all measures of life.

There are many approaches parents take to ensure their children receive a great education. Some choose home schooling which allows them to control every aspect of their child’s education from curriculum to the amount of hours spent every day on school work. Some parents choose to put their kids in a formalized learning environment controlled by educators who have a track record for getting great results.

Both of these approaches can work well depending upon the child. But what is certain, is that children do better academically when they have few distractions and are literally living in an environment built to support learning.

This is perhaps why boarding schools consistently graduate the world’s top students. They offer a completely planned out education strategy and a setting that is proven to create high performing students.

But like everything in life, not all boarding schools are created equal and parents interested in sending a child to a boarding school needs to study their options and have a checklist for deciding on the right school. Here are some of the items to include on your checklist:

Educational Credentials

At the heart of any great school is its academic track record, so you will want to examine the education credentials of each boarding school you are considering. It should reveal a school that has top tier teaching curriculum, highly credentialed teachers and a large percentage of the student body that is excelling in classes.

For those who are not excelling in their classes, there should a support system in place that gets to the bottom of why and corrects these deficiencies in a very systematic and deliberate manner.

Further you should find that students are being accepted in high numbers at the top universities and there should be a number of alumni that have gone on to have standout careers in their chosen fields. All of this information should be made available by the school either as an introduction to their approach and accomplishments in this area or upon your request.

Recognized Leaders in Their Specialty Areas

Many boarding schools specialize in a particular subject or subjects. There are schools that are renowned for graduating future politicians and others that excel at creating future business leaders. There are boarding schools with performing arts programs that are the industry standard, and others who graduate top scientists. Make sure if you are interviewing a school that has a particular specialty area, that they have a great reputation for graduating successful professionals in that industry.

A Large Number of Students are Boarders

Practically every boarding school also has students that are day students, meaning those that go home in the afternoons and are not on the school campus during the weekends. So you want to make sure that there is a large enough amount of students that actually stay at the school to ensure that your child will have company during the evenings and weekends. Being far away from home with no one around can be extremely taxing and disorienting on young people. Without lots of other kids boarding, there will be fewer activities available for them to partake in, and fewer friends for them to make. So ask the school about the number of students who are boarders.

Appropriate Values and Traditions

Many boarding schools have been around for decades and some for hundreds of years. During their time in existence they develop an ethos or set of characteristics that come to define the school. Some schools are regarded as very tough and stringent regarding academics, others have a strong record of compassion, while others have a reputation for developing creative skills in students. You should understand this ethos and decide if it fits with what you want for your child.

Focus on Extra-curricular Activities

When your child is not in class or studying there will be considerable free time. Boarding schools try and fill this time with productive activities. You need to be sure that there are enough of the type of activities that will appeal to your child, going on all year long at the school.

Most boarding schools have excellent facilities for music, sports and other types of activities on campus. The school should offer all sorts of group activities built around these facilities. This means singing and music groups, sports teams, drama productions, debate groups, and others, and students should be strongly encouraged to join.

There is also an opportunity to work within the community around the school as a volunteer. These types of activities give students the chance to meet new people and make new friends and develop character. They also build student’s character and school record, which will be looked on positively by universities.

Deciding where to send your child to school is a big challenge. When you add the need to ensure they are also cared for well while they learn, it complicates things even more. Do your homework and you will learn information that will help you make a good choice.