After three full days of reports and discussions here at the 57th CSW, consensus has been reached on one critical item: every country reporting so far has laws in place to protect the rights of women! So why is violence against women still so prevalent? Why are women the number one target of discrimination world wide?

Everyone also agrees that they’re tired of laws that aren’t enforced; discouraged about always handing out support instead of solutions. Tempers flared this afternoon during a discussion about how to change the situation. More severe punishments? Enlisting more men as allies? Stronger economic empowerment? More public service information?

In the midst of the heated conversation, the answer almost slipped by unnoticed. A soft-spoken Israeli woman paused for a brief moment on a slide in her presentation. It was impossible to hear her, but the information on the slide was clear: a pilot program in Israel is introducing conflict resolution as standard school curriculum beginning in kindergarten. Studies prove that learning non-violent communication at an early age – combined with music – reduces violence.

My heart leapt as I remembered the Zinti kids of Ruby’s World. Regardless of how wound up they were at the beginning of class, a song was the answer. I was never more than one or two bars into “I’m a Little Teapot” before every one of them was in their seat, smiling, singing along. The promise of another song at the end of class was enough to keep them focused on their lessons for the next forty minutes. 

These kids, at the ripe old age of 8 or 9, have witnessed – and are often the victims of – more tragedy and violence than most of us will experience in an entire lifetime. And still, one simple song was enough to make them happy.

When our session ended this afternoon, I congratulated my colleague from Israel for her organization’s foresight. It’s encouraging to know there’s such a clear solution for the future: our kids.

I look forward to following the success of the Israeli program and hope that the concept of prevention catches on. Altering our education system to provide problem solving skills cannot help but improve the lives of men and women alike.