Sunday, November 14, 2010

Women hold up half the sky

I just read this article from the New York Times Magazine and wanted to share it with you. It presents a compelling argument for providing economic aid specifically to women in the developing world due to a growing worldwide recognition that this is the most effective means of fighting global poverty and extremism. 

Although this issue isn't really connected with my research on style blogs or fashion, it's one that's close to my heart. Women and girls are being treated appallingly all over the world right now and it's knowledge of the situation, as presented in articles like this one which could jumpstart essential changes to the lives of millions of people. 

I really recommend that you read it, if not to be challenged to do something to help then at least to learn more (if you haven't considered it before) about what life might have been like if you were born as a girl in India where (the article writes) a “bride burning” takes place approximately once every two hours, to punish a woman for an inadequate dowry or to eliminate her so a man can remarry. Or in one of the poorer Asian countries, where you could be one of the one million children enslaved in the sex trade, locked in a brothel, fed just enough to keep you alive and sedated with drugs to both control you and to foster an addiction. 

If you think this is sensationalist and that I should stop preaching because what can anyone really do anyway, I would argue that if the writers are correct in their argument that brutality against women and girls is the equivalent of slavery or totalitarianism in our century, then we don't have the luxury of complacency. And that we cannot let the immensity of the problem stymie us.


  1. I read the first page of that article and thought to myself: this is all very 2009 "Women in Development"; and then I scrolled back up and checked the date, and yep, there it was. I think I might have even read it back then.

    As an economics... major who, whilst hardly an expert, has written a fair amount on the topic of "gender and poverty" (from anthropological, sociological, economic, and political economic perspectives), I am extremely cynical toward this kind of writing that: links "aid" with supposed "empowerment"; keeps on repeating tired old UN/IMF/WB catechisms re. microfinance and women's access (to work, money, aid, credit) that researchers have been showing as problematic for more than a decade; constantly racialises these poor, abused, helpless women (emphasising their features, the colour of their skin, etc. etc.). For a more original and thought-provoking read, might I suggest Laura Agustin's blog at

  2. yes! yes! yes! i am certainly on board with this. i think its totally true! and apparently there is an amazing book by this same title, women hold up half the sky, which i am trying to find to read! x

  3. also.. a great book called gogomumma written by salla sara is about 12 women in africa and their different situations, also worth a read.