A Christian Science perspective.
Since 2007, the Taliban has destroyed 640 schools in Afghanistan and 350 in Pakistan, most of which were girls' schools (see "Teacher, Can We Leave Now? No." The New York Times, July 18). One reason girls are targeted is because in rural areas, a young man needs approval from his mother to join a jihad, or holy war, and most educated women won't let their sons join the Taliban to wage this kind of war. Greg Mortenson, author of the book "Three Cups of Tea," stated that there is a fear that if girls are educated, they will educate their mothers, and also that when these girls become mothers, they will be less likely to let their sons become insurgents or militants.
These attitudes have been shaped by a mistaken sense of both manhood and womanhood. But praying to the one infinitely powerful God to reveal more of the dominion of true spiritual womanhood can make a difference in healing oppression, including that which would deny education to girls and women.
And what is spiritual womanhood? It is a part of the unchangeable, God-given spiritual nature of man – meaning every man, woman, girl, and boy. Through prayer, we can grasp that God is Father and Mother, in which feminine or mothering qualities blend naturally with masculine or fathering qualities, evidenced in gentle strength, intuitive intelligence, and tender firmness, among many others.