While engaged in Afghanistan, we have observed the wide mistreatment of women and many are calling for the resolution of this problem. While we are all sympathetic to the individuals that we have learned about through the news media, before taking any policy action, we need to take a broader view.
In the relatively enlightened United States, women have had the right to vote for less than a century and a mere 50 years ago, the only professional opportunities open to women were nursing and teaching. Even then, these were low paying jobs.
In the isolated Third World countries, not exposed to the dramatic changes that have occurred in the West, where ignorance, illiteracy and superstition have been the norm for centuries or more, it is a safe bet that most of the men abuse most of the women.
Third World abuse of women is a major cultural problem and, to fix it, we will need to take on most of the males in most of the Third World. The Third World easily has two-thirds of the world’s population and the United States has only about four percent. If this ratio is not challenging enough, consider that, at this time, the country is entirely inwardly focused on its economy.
The obvious conclusion is that this is not a problem that can be fixed in any conceivable timeframe. At best, only a few small steps can be taken in a few places.
In my next entry, I will examine the ‘cultural problem’ and what would need to be done to change it.