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The cultural walls that divide the global village are crumbling, enabling girls in developing countries to conceive of futures unimaginable to their mothers. In the Ethiopian village of Moulo, 10-year-old Zelalem Abera, the niece of Zenebu Tulu, pictures herself as a doctor. Despite the dissonance between such dreams and what is available to women in poor nations, the fact that a young girl can imagine controlling her own future is itself progress.

Q: Can women do everything men can do?

Abera: Men are stronger than women, I believe.

Q: What does your mother do?

Abera: She makes coffee. She makes injera and wat. She goes to market. She collects firewood. She fetches water. Pounds some cereals. She washes clothes.

Q: She sounds like she is a verY strong woman to do all this work. Is she not as strong as your father?

Abera: My father makes pans, which she cannot do, for example. He can chop wood, which my mother cannot sometimes do. He plows and my mother doesn’t.

Q: What are the jobs that your mother can do that your father cannot do?

Abera: My mother is responsible only in the house.

Q: Why is it important for a girl to go to school?

Abera: To be educated and to live well.

Q: Do you want to have a job when you are big?

Abera: Yes, I want to be a doctor.

Q: Have you met a doctor before?

Abera: No.

Q: What does a doctor do?

Abera: He treats patients.

Q: And what kind of sicknesses do you want to help people with?

Abera: If somebody has a stomachache, I’ll gIve some medicines. If somebody has a headache, I’ll give some medical drugs for headache.

Q: And where will you live?

Abera: I want to live in Addis. I like Addis.

Q: Do you want to have a husband and children when you grow up?

Abera: No. I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to have children.

Q: If you go to Addis, become a doctor, and do not have a husband and children, will you live alone and take care of yourself?

Abera: Yes, I can live without children and a husband.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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