Women’s Participation in World’s Development: Importance of Understanding

For a long period of time, society suffered because of inabilities to develop proper relations between the minorities, genders, and nations in order to promote the development of different spheres of life. There were a number of attempts to influence the style of life and make people evaluate their possibilities and demands.

However, it was hard to define one common goal for each nation and take the right steps. However, “the prospect of war was a welcome occasion for national unity in the face of the mounting class – and gender-based conflicts of European society” (Strayer 981). The changes which had to be accepted by people during the war and when the war was over made people look through their lives and decide what style of life should be better chosen under new conditions with new abilities.

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With the help of the literary works created by Leila Ahmed, Carolina Maria de Jesus, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, and Vera Brittain, it is possible to take a look at the activities which had to be taken and the emotions which fulfilled people. The common thing for all these women was the necessity to act and think due to the possibility to become more educative (Lacey 65), still, they were bound by some duties and obligations which could not be neglected.

Moral and ethical values did not play an important role, still, they remained to be an issue that influenced human lives. Still, the world as well as women has been changed (Waugh 114) and human achievements should be defined. In this paper, the attempt to evaluate the major developments of modern world history will be made.


Jesus, Ahmed, Pandit, and Brittain offered their writings to show how unfair and wrong world’s position was for a long period of time and how miserable human actions could be in case they were not understood by the society; loses and grieves of four women are described in their works and help to comprehend it is sometimes enough to admit the necessity of change to improve personal life.


Vera Brittain and her grief caused by the war. The life of Vera Brittain as well as her writings was based on grief because of which she suffered for a long period of time. Of course, the development of world history is impossible without some radical changes and improvements, still, the changes which had to be experienced by this woman seemed to be a bit cruel and hard to live with.

“When the Great War broke out, it came to me not as a superlative tragedy, but as an interruption of the most exasperating kind to my personal plans” (Brittain 68). This work shows how unfair the destiny was to this woman: her lover and brother were killed in action, and she had to take care of other soldiers who were in need as she joined the VAD and helped voluntary other nurses. The conditions under which she had to live were new and hard to comprehend (Brittan 67).

The events which happened to her changed her life radically, and she could do nothing but live with her heart “sinking in a sudden cold dismay” (Brittain 115). The aftermath of the war promoted numerous cultural and social changes (Strayer 985), still, these changed could hardly make people happier.

Multiculturalism as a hedge that prevented Ahmed’s success. Though the idea of cultural discrimination emerged during the World War I (Ahmed 248), the writing by Leila Ahmed helped to understand that it was not the only one problem for the representatives of different majorities. The author tries to hide her roots and her nationality in order not to provide people with another opportunity to react in a negative way, to suspect, or to spit at her.

Though women had the rights to vote and to make choices independently after the war (Strayer 985), Arabic women were deprived of such chance and had to prove their right to survive in this world. This is why it is not a surprise to define anger as the “key emotion” of a person who is identified as an Arab (Ahmed 270). Human prejudice is a terrible weapon: it is impossible to destroy it without certain efforts and it is difficult to convince people reject its usage.

In spite of the fact that people try to support the idea of development and overcome misunderstandings and failures, they are week to neglect the words which carry “entire histories” (Ahmed 266) and achieve the desirable success. Powerful still too prejudiced ideas offered by Ahmed discover another side of human history and human uncertainty.

Family relations and success in the political sphere demonstrated by Pandit. One of the most important things in life is a successful development of relations in family. If a person is lucky enough to have a strong family where each member is going to support and protect, it seems to be easier to overcome all challenges around.

In her work, Pandit defines her family as “a form of social security and insurance and no one was abandoned” (440). A proper union of the family is a human side and a source of courage that helps to cope with any social barrier. In this work, it is possible to observe the missions which had to be complete by each person to support the idea of improvement.

Police, for example, may enter the house and take anything in case a person could not pay for living (Pandit 451) and the boycott movements raised in numbers where women were used as the main sources of persuasion (Pandit 452). In fact, Indian style of life is not easy to comprehend due to constant measurement of autonomy and human rights (Strayer 634), still, modern world history would be incomplete if this side of life was omitted.

Jesus’ attempt to improve the political aspect of human life. Ideas offered by Carolina Maria de Jesus are probably the brightest and the most captivating among the rest as she tried to evaluate the conditions of the political field being a simple peasant who lived in slums. It was not another opportunity to cry about personal discontents; it was an attempt to “treat people… with more consideration” (Jesus 39).

Human development is based on the desire to improve living conditions, provide more opportunities, and assist poor people in emergency cases. However, the point raised by the author is politicians’ inability to realize the essence of problems as they do not have access to them: “people do not tolerate hunger. It’s necessary to know hunger to know how to describe it” (Jesus 39). She was not afraid to tell the truth as she had nothing to lose.

She could not support the idea of development because there was no leader who knew his people good enough to understand their needs (Jesus 49). Fair evaluation of the events helped her describe the world from the inside, define the worst aspects that prevented the desirable success, and contribute the history in a good way.

Common threats under different backgrounds of the authors. It is necessary to admit that all four authors introduce rather interesting images of society and its abilities to improve the life. Each author has her own social status and may declare personal ideas with a certain attitude, still, it is not easy for all of them to be heard.

All of them have a common desire to help other people realize their weakness and shortages to be ready to take steps and look at the world from another perspective. Their backgrounds and relations could not prevent them from dangers created by society, still, their self-confidence and passion made their recognizable by the readers and respected by the world.


In general, all four writers share their own ideas on how it is possible to change the world and how it is necessary to treat to the idea of development. Leila Ahmed, Carolina Maria de Jesus, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, and Vera Brittain are the women whose actions were observed by many people.

They were not afraid to say a word and protect their rights; they were courage enough to admit their pain and fear; they were smart enough to give strong argumentation before offer something. Their works turn out to be captivating sources of information about life, development, and history the evaluation of which should help to improve the present and the future of any nation without taking into consideration the inequalities existed.

Works Cited

Ahmed, Leila. “On becoming an Arab.” A Border passage. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1999. p. 243-270. Print.

Brittain, Vera. “Testament of youth: an autobiographical study of the years 1900-1925.” In Jill Ker Conway Written by herself: volume 2: women’s memoirs from Britain, Africa, Asia, and the United States. New York: A Vintage Original, 1996. p. 66-116. Print.

Jesus, Carolina, M. “Diary: 1958”. In Beyond all pity. London: Souvenir Press, 1962. p. 39-56. Print.

Lacey, Greg. Revise modern world history for OCR specification 1937. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 2002. Print.

Pandit, Vihaya, L. “The scope of happiness: personal memoir.” In Jill Ker Conway Written by herself: volume 2: women’s memoirs from Britain, Africa, Asia, and the United States. New York: A Vintage Original, 1996. p. 438-488. Print.

Strayer, Robert. Ways of the world, volume 2: A global history with sources. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press, 2010. Print.

Waugh, Steve. Essential modern world history. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes, 2001. Print.


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