Monday, September 14, 2009

A new agenda for the world’s women

Carolyn Moynihan
What’s behind the discovery that women are the world’s greatest unexploited resource for fighting poverty and terrorism?

If you think the world is going to hell in a handcart, stop worrying; there are plenty of would-be saviours around. Philosopher Peter Singer, as we noted on this site last week, says a voluntary transfer of cash from the rich to the poor would save the world from poverty. New Scientist is working on a “Blueprint for a better world” starting with such bright ideas as scepticism about common sense, legalising drugs, and entrusting everyone’s DNA to the police. And The New York Times believes that “Saving the World’s Women” is the way to go. It probably is, so let’s see what’s new on the women’s agenda.

Admittedly, we hear a lot about saving the women of the developing world. Usually, it is from the “sexual and reproductive health” crowd, whose answer to dangerous childbirth, infant mortality, hunger, disease the abuse of women -- and practically everything else -- is contraception, sterilisation and abortion. Just this month they gathered in Berlin to complain about lack of progress on that front in many countries and to call for “universal access to sexual and reproductive health information and services by 2015”.

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