By Gregory Allen
As of 2011, on a poverty line of $1.25, 1.4 billion people live impoverished. Aid is applied but these conditions hardly disappear. In a debate on the subject of suffering with Tony Blair, Christopher Hitchens offered a solution; stating, “The cure for poverty has a name in fact; it’s called ‘the empowerment of women.’”
The empowerment of women and the creation of equality is the only known cure to poverty. In modernized countries, such as Sweden where feminism is not socially stigmatized; development occurs and is sustained. In countries where the subordination of women is tolerated, the opposite occurs, and instability and conflict are far more prevalent.
Recent legislation passed in the United States provokes inquiry as to where our nation stands in respect to equality. Despite seizing the House in 2010 on claims of creating jobs, the first and most frequent bills proposed by Republicans are designed to eliminate women’s freedoms. Attacks have been made on women’s health rights, such as closing clinics that provide cancer screenings and contraception. Cuts made to Medicare and Social Security will also disproportionately affect women.
Women’s reproductive rights are also besieged, with cuts to Planned Parenthood and legislation passing limiting access to abortions. With the passage of the “Let Women Die Bill” (HR 358), doctors with religious faith may refuse medical care to women who will die without treatment, so long as they cite merciful Jesus as the motivation for their apathetic cruelty.
Another bill, HR 212, has been introduced with the intentions of granting personhood to zygotes. Through this change, many forms of birth control will be banned as well as other medical procedures. It will also allow for the criminal prosecution of women who miscarry.
Oppressing the heath rights of others prevents them from controlling and exercising their reproductive functions in a healthy manner of their choosing. Without the ability to access and exercise these rights, women are subordinated to a livestock lifestyle of reproduction.
Women are also losing career support in the United States. Cuts are being made to public sector jobs; 90% of elementary teachers and 95% of nurses are women. Day care and job training programs are also being defunded, further affecting American women’s opportunity to join the workforce and positively affect the economy.
Attacking the health and reproductive rights, job opportunities and educational aid of women prevents society from improving, because it negates equality and exacerbates instability.
Countries that do not encourage both genders to flourish face detrimental societal consequences, such as economic deterioration.
Afghanistan displays the fallout from unrestrained misogyny, as Sam Harris describes, “Afghan women have a 12% literacy rate and a life expectancy of 44 years. Afghanistan has nearly the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. It also has one of the highest birthrates. Consequently, it is one of the best places on earth to watch women and infants die.”
Harris elaborates further on the connection, “And Afghanistan’s GDP is currently lower than the world’s average was in the year 1820. It is safe to say that the optional response to this dire situation-that is to say, the most moral response-is not to throw battery acid in the faces of little girls for the crime of learning to read.” The attacks described occurred recently and are not limited to these methods.
The discrimination examined by Harris may be more extreme in Islamic countries lacking modernization, but the misogynistic beliefs that provoke these behaviors are not limited to third-world nations alone.
Perhaps it is not the best decision to share ideological similarities and behaviors with countries whose economic and social situations we do not envy, nor wish for our own nation to mimic.
Only freedom and equality will improve and preserve the future, because no country can move forward if more than half of its population is held back.