Women And Girls Aren

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 (Juliette: Acid Attack Survivor, Amazing Woman; Beauty Is More Thank Skin Deep; Afghan Girls, Scarred By Acid, Defy Terror, Embrace School;), bride burnings and mass rape (Tackling South Africa's rape epidemic; 29-Year-Old Jordanian Gets 7.5 Years For Killing Sister Who Had Been Raped).

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.

Read the full story by:
Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
NYT Magazine