Time(s) to Focus on Women in the Developing World

So, I'm reading the New York Times online yesterday and come across an op-ed piece by Nicholas D. Kristof about this "special issue" of the Sunday Magazine that will be released in August covering women in the developing world. And I immediately feel conflicted. On the one hand, I think its enormously exciting that the NYT is dedicating an entire issue to global women's issues. On the other, I'm skeptical of what that coverage may be since the Times hasn't been fairing well with feminists these days. Will the issue be more paternalism and neo-liberalism? Or will it feature a more indigenous, grassroots perspective to issues women face? The good news is that you can comment on Kristof's op-ed to tell the NYT what you'd like to see in the issue.

No doubt the art work will be amazing, and Kristof does say that two photographers were bankrolled to run around from country to country snappin' pictures to their hearts' content. (I am soooo green with envy!!) He also discloses that an excerpt from his and his wife Sheryl WuDunn's upcoming book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, will be featured, along with a mystery contest. In their book, the Pulitzer Prize winning couple argue "that the dominant moral challenge we face in the 21st century is to address gender inequality in the developing world, and that as a practical matter you can't address poverty unless you empower women and girls." Not exactly a new idea, but it's one that hasn't entirely taken hold, and so is worth repeating.

I'm hesitantly excited to see what this issue may entail. Um, can a girl get a copy sent to India?

Photo credit: Yours Truly

by Mandy Van Deven
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2 Comments Have Been Posted

Women hold up half the sky

Wudunn & Kristof's NY Times article contains searing and moving exposure of the horrific conditions of women around the globe and this is most necessary. The problem, however, is that not only does their “Women’s Crusade” promote so-called solutions which only strengthen imperialist domination and the chains on women, but Wudunn & Kristof shockingly blot out 27 years of breathtaking history. It was in revolutionary China led by Mao, from 1949-1976, when “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” was the slogan which set the terms for one-quarter of the planet. Before the 1976 coup which restored capitalism and brought sweatshops, sex-trafficking and female infanticide, women together with men made unprecedented strides towards real women’s liberation.

Check out Sunsara Taylor’s response to the Wudunn & Kristof article at http://sunsara.blogspot.com/2009/08/sunsara-taylor-speaking-against.html

And read A Declaration: For the Liberation of Women & the Emancipation of All Humanity at http://www.revcom.us/a/158/Declaration-en.html

I read a book this past

I read a book this past semester for my Legal Anthropology class about how women's rights all over the world have too long been victim to local male power (government, church, etc.) who are so insistent on keeping the status quo that whenever an outside group, such as people from the West try to intervene, these men start screaming about how the outsiders are trampling their "culture" (of misogyny and abuse). The author of this book argued that when it comes to women's human rights all over the globe, it is indeed appropriate to step in, which is why we have international legal groups made up of representatives from all over the world, and other aid organizations like that.
Maybe if we followed what the authors of this article are suggesting, we would finally start seeing results in terms of women's equality and decreasing poverty and mortality all over the world.

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