Women in the developing world are the focus of the Aug. 23 edition of .
The main feature is an by Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff and former Times correspondent Sheryl Wudunn. Titled “,” the book and its look at three major abuses against women: sex trafficking and forced prostitution; gender-based violence including honor killings and mass rape; and maternal mortality. Here’s the intro:
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.
Change, however, may not be that simple. In a separate article, “,” Tina Rosenberg probes why discrimination against girls persists even among wealthier, read developed areas:
To be sure, development can eventually lead to read equal treatment for girls: South Korea’s birth ratios are now approaching normality. But policymakers need to realize that this type of development works slowly and mainly indirectly, by softening a son-centered culture. The solution is not to abandon development or to stop providing, say, microcredit to women. But these efforts should be joined by an awareness of the unintended consequences of development and by efforts, aimed at parents, to weaken the cultural preference for sons.
Other stories in this magazine issue look at ; a Q & A with on plans to push women’s rights issues on the international stage; a reporter that was the site of a violent attack; an interview with , the only female head of state in Africa; a look at that advocates the use of force to aid women; and a poignant that concludes with an HIV-positive 16-year-old’s simple plea: a safe place to be a girl.
Plus: If you want to share the work that you’re doing to educate and empower women, Kristof is on his blog that describe efforts by individuals and organizations worldwide. Some of the submissions will be highlighted in future columns; three winners will be chosen to receive a signed copy of the book.