Friday, August 28, 2009

Women will change the world

There's a very interesting article on the New York Times website called "Saving the World's Women: How changing the lives of women and girls in the developing world can change everything". While the use of the word "saving" in the title insinuates something different, it's a good insight into gender inequality and the disproportionate extremes that women in developing countries are facing.

The story of Saima, the Pakistani woman who with the help of a microcredit loan has become the sole breadwinner of her family and an employer of many families in her community is something I witnessed first hand in my work in Bangladesh. All it takes is a small sum to buy a sewing machine and some fabric, or a couple of goats or cows, and women can transform not only their lives, and the lives of other women around them, but also existing inequitable social structures. The story of Tinashe actually brought a tear to my eye.

Girls in a slum in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

With mention to Amartya Sen's work on the world's missing women, it becomes obvious that this is no small issue, and though it happens in different ways in different countries, the question remains: How has the world stood by for so long, to allow over 100 million women to go missing (either due to unequal access to medical care or the age old practice of exposing infant girls who should have been boys)?

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