Women around the world are subject to widespread discrimination and violence because they live in societies that have no respect for women’s individual rights. Rather than push for more government intervention on behalf of women in the US labor market (i.e. the infamous gender wage gap), feminists should focus their attention in places that fundamentally lack basic human rights for women.
Kathleen Parker and Jonah Goldberg tackle the issue of women’s rights abroad. In “Women Aren’t Pet Rocks,” Parker writes that women’s rights- properly defined as
… basic human rights. The freedom to work, to make decisions about one’s own life, to seek an education and to be safe to walk on the streets without a male escort. –
should be at the core of our foreign policy.
What if saving women from cultures that treat them as chattel was in our strategic and not just moral interest? What if helping women become equal members of a society was the most reliable route to our own security?
One needn’t be a visionary to accept this simple tenet as not only probable but inescapably true. Without exception, every nation that oppresses women is a failed and, therefore, dangerous nation.
Jonah Goldberg offers additional support for the crucial importance of including women’s rights near the top of strategic goals in foreign theaters in the Islamist Middle East and Africa:
Islamist extremism and oppression of women go hand in hand. And while the correlation between poverty and terrorism is often overstated, the correlation between prosperity and women’s liberation is profound. Female education is tightly linked with GDP growth, lower birthrates, and even higher agricultural yields. It’s also tightly linked with human freedom and decency, which is why no Islamic “spring” is possible without a feminist revolution.
Countless Islamist countries practice gender apartheid and countenance wife-beating, honor killings, and female genital mutilation. Islamist radicals have thrown acid in the faces of young girls for trying to go to school. …
… the real war for women’s equality is now a battle to be fought in foreign lands.
My colleague, Charlotte Hays, also blogged on Goldberg’s piece here, and here.
It is high time that “women’s rights” groups show sincere support for their sister’s abroad, instead of merely using their stories as leads for their political agenda of fighting the alleged “Republican War Against Women.”