Dalai Lama: Women with power can bring a compassionate revolution
Our mother plays a crucial role in our childhood: This is true for all 7.7 billion of us living on this planet. None of us would have survived without our mother’s love. Such is the law of nature. Fathers play an important role, too, but at the beginning of life, our mother is irreplaceable. She is closest to the body, heart and spirit of her child. It is she who gave us birth and brought us into the world. Experiencing this primordial link is decisive. As children grow up, they feed on maternal affection as much as they feed on milk.
I was born into a humble family living in a small village in a backwater of eastern Tibet, yet I have always felt wealthy; my mother lavished her boundless love on me. I never saw the slightest expression of anger cross her face, and she always spread goodness around her. I think of her as my first teacher. It was she who first taught me the priceless lesson of compassion.
Women are more empathic and sensitive
I call on the next generation of young women to be the mothers of the Compassionate Revolution that this century so desperately needs. You have a special role to play in creating a better world. It is often thought that women are more empathic and sensitive, and more receptive to the feelings of others. These are qualities that are embodied by mothers. In this sense, women are models of humanity.
Study history, and you will see that throughout every era, across all the continents, it is men who have been responsible for carnage and destruction. They have been celebrated as heroes when they should have been criticized as wrongdoers.
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The law of the strongest was already in force in prehistoric times. The muscular power of men in relation to women endowed them with physical superiority, which is how male dominance was established. But over time, this relationship has evolved: Education, knowledge and skills have become more important.
I am resolutely dedicated to equality, and I am delighted to see more and more young women taking up senior positions throughout society. I have had the honor of meeting women leaders from all walks of life, and I encourage you, young women, to take an active role in the political and economic life of your country, so that you will be in key positions to forge ahead with the transformation that compassion can bring.
We need women in positions of power
Accept leadership roles, for we need you to promote love and compassion. I have a dream that women will govern more of the 200 nations of the world one day. There will be less war, violence and economic and social injustice.
And whatever you do, you must not assume that in order to reach high office, and stay there, you need to adopt the most unacceptable masculine behavior — the use of force. Genuine strength is rooted in love and compassion. The more you exercise power in this way, the more violence will decrease.
Young women of the millennium: I am calling on you to take your place at the head of a Compassionate Revolution.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of Tibet and a Nobel laureate for peace. This piece is adapted from his new book, “A Call for Revolution: A Vision for the Future,” co-authored with Sofia Stril-Rever. Follow him on Twitter: @DalaiLama
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