Susan Smith Blakely

Remember the Nigerian School Girls

This two-week old tragedy of the Nigerian school girls has me totally preoccupied.  Kidnapping girls from a school because they are being educated seems of another century.  The kidnappers are opposed on religious grounds to educating women in the western style.  Shocking in 2014.  Shocking at any time.

And now.  The news from yesterday that the kidnappers intend to sell the young girls.  Yes, sell.  Straight out of 12 Years a Slave, except that it turns out not to be history.  It is today.  Yes, somewhere on Earth, women are still being sold as slaves today.

You would think that this horrific and unconscionable situation would be on the front page of every newspaper in America.  But, not so.  My home town newspaper buried the story on page 15 on Sunday --- in the Sunday newspaper that I rely on for its in depth reporting and recap of the important news of the week.  Yes, page 15.  And, the article was only half a full column, but above the fold.  (That at least is something.)  As my husband pointed out, dripping with sarcasm, it is NBA tournament time....... In fact, the NBA and Lady Gaga were featured on the front page of the Washington Post today ---albeit below the fold.  (Again, at least that is something.)

What is this craziness?  How can a basketball tournament and a rock concert rate higher than loss of humanity?  250 young girls kidnapped, mistreated and now threatened to be sold. It is time to reevaluate.

When you next hear how much progress women have made globally, remember the 250 Nigerian school girls.   Remember the slave market.  And remember page 15.

Today, give up worrying about your spring wardrobe, your summer vacation plans, your next interior design project, your problems with your significant other and your problems at school or at the office.  Today, think about women being sold as slaves because they were trying to get an education to improve their own lives and those of their loved ones.

Think about it and pray for them.

Susan Smith Blakely is the Founder of LegalPerspectives LLC and a nationally-recognized author, speaker and consultant on issues related to young women lawyers, young women law students and young women interested in careers in the law.  She is author of Best Friends at the Bar:  What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers 2009), and Best Friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today's Woman Lawyer (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business 2012), which addresses the work-life struggle for women lawyers and includes twelve profiles of women who have successfully transitioned from one practice setting to another.  Ms. Blakely frequently speaks at colleges and universities, law schools, law firms and law organizations, and she has been featured in media including the LA Daily Journal, National Jurist, Washington Examiner Newspaper, Forbes Woman, DC Spotlight, Daily Muse and Huffington Post Business.  Ms. Blakely also is a frequent guest speaker and panelist at conferences on women's issues and the law profession.

Ms. Blakely graduated from the University of Wisconsin with distinction and from Georgetown University Law Center where she taught legal research and writing. She also is a Marshall Goldsmith trained career and leadership coach and a member of the CoachSource global network of leadership coaches.  She also is a career coach for the Indiana University Marshall Goldsmith Leadership Development and Executive Coaching Academy.   For more information, please visit 


Write a comment

Please login to comment

Remember Me

Become a Member

FREE online community for women in the legal profession.



Subscribe to receive regular updates, news, and events from Ms. JD.

Connect with us

Follow or subscribe