Poverty, inequality, disease — there are a lot of horrible things wrong in the world. As an outspoken advocate of justice and peace, Sister Joan Chittister has spent the better part of her 78 years shining a spotlight on the many injustices plaguing the population. But at the heart of it all, she tells Oprah on “Super Soul Sunday,” is one particular plight whose advancement would have a ripple effect on everything else threatening humanity.
“I’m fundamental about this. I really believe that nothing is going to change in the world until the situation of women changes,” Sister Joan asserts in the above video. “I’ll tell you why: You cannot simply dismiss over half of the human race, which means dismiss their agendas, dismiss their needs, dismiss their gifts, dismiss their intelligence.”
Particularly in the current discourse and state of the world, she continues, women’s voices are crucial in the decision-making process, bringing the valuable insights that have been so sorely lacking on a variety of levels.
“We are now at the place where men are running everything, which means that humanity is seeing with one eye, hearing with one ear and thinking with one half of the human brain,” she says. “No wonder we’re doing the things we’re doing! We’re bringing to the table only half the needs of the human race!”
Sister Joan is quick to point out that she doesn’t believe all men intentionally overlook the needs and voices of women.
“I don’t mean that men are doing this purposefully,” she says. “It’s just that they only have half the experience. They have half the wisdom. They have half the intelligence. So, they’re making full decisions out of half of the resources that we should have.”
The result is that women are the ones who ultimately suffer. “Who gets left behind? Who are the poorest of the poor?” Sister Joan says. “The women and the children.”
“All over the world,” Oprah adds.
When Oprah asks what we should be doing now to address this issue, Sister Joan gives a one-word answer that she insists is true and genuine, not flippant: something. Do something.
“Each of us must do something where we are that changes the attitude of the neighborhood, and the attitude of the office, and the attitude of the boardroom, and the attitude of the bank. Do something,” Sister Joan urges.
“Wherever you see injustice. Wherever you see despair,” Oprah adds. “I used to say this [for] so many years when I was doing ‘The Oprah Show’: Once you’ve seen it and it’s come into your consciousness, you can’t pretend you didn’t see it.”
“And you can never not see it again,” Sister Joan agrees. “Do something.”
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