September 21, 2009
The list of sins against women in the United States is long.
We still badly lag our male counterparts in pay.
We just about outnumber men in college but are only a fraction of the bosses in business.
We just about outnumber men in law school, too. But there are only two women on the Supreme Court.
We work outside the home but still handle most of the chores in it.
We are in regular danger of having our reproductive rights revoked.
Our daughters are muscled out of the way in science classes. They share only a fraction of the purse in sports.
But those grievances seem like just so much whining when put up against the cruelties visited upon women in the other half of the world: sex slavery, death in childbirth, mass rape, honor killings, genital cutting and the simple indifference of fathers and mothers to their infant daughters.
Nicholas Kristof, columnist for The New York Times, and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn – the first married couple to have won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting – have published a book detailing what it might mean to developing countries in economic and political stability if they ceased the systematic abuse and devaluation of women and instead educated and employed them.