Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Women's Rights and Wrongs

by Richard Crews
Relief workers distributing food in Haiti have discovered that when the food vouchers are given to men, disorderly riots break out, whereas if the vouchers are given to women, they--despite their hunger, pain, and frustration--form orderly and patient lines.

The Grameen Bank in Bangladesh (and elsewhere) makes about 96% of its microloans to women because banking authorities have found over the past dozen years that men are far less likely than women to use the proceeds for the benefit of the family, and to pay the loan back.

Opotunidas in Mexico (and elsewhere) gives the government checks that are rewards for keeping children in school and getting them health care directly to the mothers, not the fathers. The authorities found that when the payments were made to the fathers, the money was significantly more like likely to go for gambling, tobacco, and alcohol.

When will this message get through to political powers around the world who still deprive women of civil rights, and thereby deprive humanity of this powerful civilizing force?