An idea has been festering in me. I've been reluctant to show it the light of day, cause it's not fully formed and I don't want to look like I don't have my ducks in a row, but somehow the darkness isn't causing it to ripen and allows me to simply ignore it. So I'm bringing it out, half-baked so to speak, in the hope that discussing it will enable me to move my thought process forward.
I have been thinking that virtually all the world's most vexing problems can be advanced by empowering women. What sorts of problems? Oh little things like overpopulation, terrorism, world hunger, human rights abuses, you know, little stuff like that.
So how might that work?
One of the biggest obstacles to stemming overpopulation is lack of access to birth control. In a large swath of the globe, women lack any self-determination in the execution of their reproductive rights. Globally speaking, I maintain that women want control over the timing, spacing and number of children they bear. I maintain that no woman wants to bring children into a world where their chances of survival are slim, where they will starve or suffer needlessly. And yet, they are forced to do so by dispassionate husbands and a perverse social structure that supposedly "values" children. Women are not baby factories.
Freedom to pursue economic independence. When women are economically dependent on their husbands, they have little to no ability to carve a better life for themselves. They have little say outside the home. They are mere chattle. Money is power. Power is a voice. The power of many voices can change the world.
Equal rights. In Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive. King Abdullah has said that he is willing to lift that ban sometime this year. Not sure whether he has or not, but it's clear that it is meant to stave off calls for larger scale calls for equal rights and women's sufferage. Where women are prevented by modesty laws, social convention, and threat of death from full participation in society, men rule with impunity. And as they say, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Delusions of superiority, an unyielding sense of entitlement, fundamental religious beliefs are a breeding ground for terrorism. I believe that women, fully participating in society, would offer a balance. I doubt any woman wants to raise sons to go off on kamakazi missions for Allah. In any event, I think there would be fewer of them if their mothers were respected as full members of society.
Anyway, don't know where I'm going with this, but it seems that just about all these problems could be improved by ensuring that women have the same rights as men around the world. I know it is all jammed up right now, but it seems to me that when you get right down to the root of the problem, it might be improved exponentially by improving the lot of women.