Every Sunday at 7 p.m. it was Walt Disney, family friendly entertainment that we watched, as a family. Once a year we watched The Wizard of Oz. And also once a year we could watch the Miss America Pageant. (They would’ve been fine with Meet the Press, but that was my dad’s Man-cave time.)
Miss America, the “world’s largest provider of scholarships for women,” was skewered in a huge and fun way by Jon Oliver Last Week Tonight. Great, watch it here.
The pageant claims to make available $45 million dollars in scholarships each year to women. In fact they give away less that $500,000 in cash scholarships.
Turns out that each state has very squirrely ways of calculating these numbers. One winner is given full scholarships to four colleges. Of course she can attend only one. But they count the value of all four in the money “made available.” And 2.6Million in scholarships in made available to Troy University. One to each contestant. How many actually attended Troy University?
If the contestants were caught fudging facts like that they would, no doubt, be disqualified.
Even with this deception, Miss America is, sadly, still the largest source of scholarships to women in the US. Oliver put up a couple of suggestions for other organizations to donate to, so that they can be become bigger sources of scholarships.
Here’s another suggestion.
Two-thirds of the illiterate people in the third world are women. Two-thirds of children who do not attend schools in the third world are girls.
For a donation of $250, Room to Read will educate a girl for a year. That’s books, uniforms, health insurance, and a bicycle if she needs one. Everything. And once a girl is in the program, she will be funded each year as long as she passes.
I’ve been supporting Room to Read for ten years now.
Education, not beauty pageants, is the key to the future of the world.