Points of Progress: Bedouin women are gaining ground, and more

Why We Wrote This

This is more than feel-good news – it's where the world is making concrete progress. A roundup of positive stories to inspire you.

Nariman El-Mofty/AP
Bedouin women lead a tour in South Sinai, Egypt, March 30.

Egypt

For the first time, Bedouin women are becoming tour guides. Bedouin conservative ideals traditionally have not supported women working outside the home or socializing outside the community. But some women say their need for income to support their families is too compelling for them to stay at home. The women tour guides have faced resistance and are able to guide only under certain conditions: All of the tourists must be women, and the tours cannot go overnight. Attitudes among Bedouin tribes are changing, though, and a tribe member told a reporter that he’s tired of the ideology that a woman’s place is at home. Others observe that young Bedouin girls feel more empowered now and express their desire to follow in these women’s footsteps. (The Associated Press)

Portugal

The country led the European Union in lowering carbon emissions. A report released by Eurostat shows that CO2 emissions constitute almost 80% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions and are a significant contributor to the rise in global temperatures. In 2018, the majority of the European Union’s 28 members experienced a decrease in CO2 emissions, and Portugal had the greatest percentage decline at 9%. Along with seven other EU members, Portugal is asking the EU to cut emissions to a net-zero level by 2050. The eight members also want to see 25% of the EU budget spent on fighting climate change and stipulate that the budget “should not finance any policy detrimental to this objective.” (Eurostat)

New Zealand

The country’s capital of Wellington is reconnecting with its Maori heritage. Today, only 3% of the population can speak Maori, even though it is one of the nation’s official languages. But the city hopes to change that. Landmark signs in Wellington are getting Maori names, and existing locations with Maori names that have long been mispronounced with improper phonetic spelling are being corrected. Wellington plans to be bilingual by 2040 and has given a new name to the city square: “Te Ngakau,” meaning “the heart.” There are also plans for a heritage trail that will point out locations of former Maori villages and historical points of interest. (CityLab)

Jorge Silva/Reuters
TĀ MOKO: Traditional Māori facial tattoos

United States

Principals across the country are helping their schools heal. The rising number of fatal shootings in schools has prompted principals to form a support group called Principals Recovery Network. After Columbine High School’s principal reached out to a fellow principal in Ohio whose school had just experienced a fatal shooting, the two benefited so much from the connection that they started contacting other principals whose schools had been the scene of shootings. Members support one another and advocate to provide educational resources in schools to promote nonviolence. (The Associated Press)

South Korea

Grannies are going back to school. As South Korea’s birthrate declines, schools are looking for ways to keep classrooms filled with students, particularly in rural areas. If schools closed, young families would have to leave. To avoid this, school administrators are turning to an unconventional pool of potential students: older residents, many of whom never learned to read. One grandmother now rides the bus to school with her granddaughter, not to accompany her but as a fellow third-grader. A septuagenarian attending her first day of school told a reporter, “Carrying a school bag has always been my dream.” (The New York Times)

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