Stupid Girls

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The price of oppressing your women

You are reading
Share |
I think the dominant problem is listed in the headline: the idea that someone can own another human being. By use of the possessive word, "your," all AJ has done is reinforce that concept. Women are not pleading with men to "give" us equality; that will never happen. What women need to do is support our sisters toward self-empowerment. It has nothing to do with men, directly, only on misogynistic impacts of men on women. You leave women out of the entire discussion by the very use of the headline. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem, AJ. Epic FAIL.
If you are not innumerate, you can start a business. If you are not living in mortal fear of rape and beatings at home, you can organise your community to dig a new well. If you are not subjecting your daughter to traumatic genital injury at three and marrying her off at ten, she can go to school. And, when she does marry and has children of her own, they will benefit from two educated, employed parents, which means twice as much literate conversation in the home, twice the contacts, and twice the encouragement to succeed. Educated, pushy mothers make all the difference.

As US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it in the Newsweek issue, "The world needs to think more strategically and creatively about tapping into women's potential for growth. Studies show that helping women access trade and grow businesses helps create jobs and boost incomes."

But on Planet Worst, forcing terrified, uneducated women to remain at home is more socially acceptable than facing the fact that this means choosing to drag down incomes for everyone. It is time to stop tiptoeing around the poorest countries' responsibility to do something essential about their own plight: Emancipate their women.

Naomi Wolf is a political activist and social critic whose most recent book is Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
A version of this article was first published on Project Syndicate.