January 14, 2010

Talking Points for Half the Sky

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:47 am by lbrosch

In India, Asia and Cambodia underage girls are kidnapped through various methods and forced into service in brothels . These girls, if they manage to escape find no chance to survive on their own. They require education, drug rehabilitation and some means of supporting themselves to find a life outside of the brothel. When they cannot survive on their own they return to the life in the brothel.

Women suffering beatings at the hand of not only husbands but the husband’s entire family in some cases. Zoya Najabi from Afghanistan explains that the women are expected to be obedient and sometimes if they do not obey, make mistakes in their household chores, etc. it is appropriate and expected that they will be beaten.

In African countries the practice of genital mutilation of young girls has been a tradition that is very difficult to break. Girls are considered unmarriageable if they have not gone through these rites of passage.

Mukhtar in Pakistan is resented and attacked by her own government while trying to start schools for girls and aid programs for women.

Hundreds of women in Africa who have suffered fistulas due to rape, obstructed labor or improper care during childbirth are faced with alienation from their family and community and often left to die.

Global public health has come to the forefront only in recent years in large part due to Allan Rosenfield’s focus on maternal mortality. He wrote; “As a basic human right, women should be able to  have a child safely and with good quality of care.”

In a story of a death in childbirth related from a clinic in Cameroon the situation for women is explained as dire because there is a lack of education on family planning and pre-natal care, lack of health care in rural areas and an overwhelming disregard for women. In many countries women just don’t matter.

Many historians and researchers have pointed out that the status of women in a developing nation is the key to that country’s growth and development.

Simple Solutions?!?

  • World attention to gender inequality and a push for educational opportunities for girls
  • Support recognition that women are the third world’s greatest underutilized resource
  • Most successful aid programs are those started at the grassroots level by the people affected
  • A worldwide women’s movement which should promote an agenda of addressing maternal mortality, eradication of obstetric fistulas, human trafficking, sexual violence, and routine discrimination of girls and women. The tools needed are education of girls, family planning, microfinance, and “empowerment” of women.
  • A global drive to iodize salt in poor countries preventing loss of I.Q from iodine deficiency

Keep updated on the newest developments with Nicholas D. Kristof’s blog for the NY Times, On the Ground.

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