What Do All the G8 Countries Have in Common?

November 17, 2008


Hlabisa, South Africa:  I asked a group of 12 male, (generally over 50 years old) Zulu Induna (traditional tribal leaders of the Zulu people, Kwa Zulu Natal) to name the “richest” countries in the world.  They did not hesitate to answer (and in this order): the United States, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and Canada.  Perhaps you recognize this list of countries?  This is the same list of countries in the “Group of Eight” (however, they never mentioned Italy.)


The “Group of Eight”, also known as the “G8”, is an international forum for the governments of the following countries:  Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  Together, these countries account for 65% of the world’s economic output (measured by gross domestic product), even though they only represent about 14% of the world population. The G8 also represent the majority of military power (most of the world’s nuclear weapons.) 


Then someone mentioned China.  Good.  So, then, I asked this same group of local Zulu tribal leaders, “What do all these countries have in common?” 

We determined that it was not race, not politics, not religion, not language, not the climate zone, etc.  The Induna were stumped.  Good.


Answer:  All of these countries allow, even encourage girls, the same access to education and jobs as boys.  Period.  This means they have the potential to earn as much as boys.  What better argument for educating girls? 


I said to the Induna:  “Don’t take my word for it.  Do your own homework and you will see I speak the truth.”


The Induna:  “Yes, we will look into this right away.”


This is how social change starts.








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