Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn: The Women’s Crusade

NYT Magazine, http://tinyurl.com/vaw21

The Women’s Crusade

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF and SHERYL WUDUNN
The liberation of women could help solve many of the world’s problems, from poverty to child mortality to terrorism.
August 23, 2009 on paper (oL since August 19)

INCIPIT of a long essay (7 pp. online):

IN THE 19TH CENTURY, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.

Yet if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater. “Women hold up half the sky,” in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos. There’s a growing recognition among everyone from the World Bank to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. That’s why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.

Nicholas D. Kristof is a New York Times Op-Ed columnist and Sheryl WuDunn is a former Times correspondent who works in finance and philanthropy. This essay is adapted from their book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” which will be published next month by Alfred A. Knopf. You can learn more about “Half the Sky” at nytimes.com/ontheground.

NB. Under WB, instead of the original internal NYTimes  link, I’ve linked to the last, June 2009 WB-PREM (the World Bank research Dept. directed by VicePresident Otaviano Canuto)  report on gender strategy.