Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Cure For Poverty and Famine

Each week our professor has us write a "cure" for a problem that exists. It can be impractical and pure fiction, or it can be as real as we can possibly make it. This is my short paper on the cure for poverty and famine--the empowerment of women.

Poverty and famine are two of the most prevalent and preventable tragedies of our time. There are no countries in the world lacking the former, and no countries in the world where the latter is not preventable. Several balms have been applied to these gaping wounds--food distribution centres, in-country job training, shipping farm equipment to encourage self-sustainability, but not one of these seem to have any effect.

My proposal is one that is over-looked and has already worked in several places. Seemingly inconsequential to ridding the world of poverty and famine is, known colloquially as, the empowerment of women. It is rudimentary but it works every time and for the same reason. Unfortunately, most people, from the impoverished female to the wealthy businessman to the enlightened scholar, have not yet realized that this is the one and only cure for two of the world's biggest problems. If you give women power, this includes but is not limited to: education, control over their own reproductive rights so that they are not chained by their husband, village, or religious custom, fair and equal treatment to apply for and hold down jobs, then you can sit back and watch the entire living standard of that area rise substantially. Culturally, socially, economically, medically, and scientifically. 

It is a true testament to people still living in the infancy of our species that they are too dumb and ignorant to realize that keeping 51% of their population uneducated and without free will, will in fact keep their country at a stand still (if not a regression, indefinitely). This can be easily examined country-to-country. Which countries have empowered their women to a stage where they are seen not as lesser creatures designed for a subservient role, but rather as a unique yet equal product of the same species as men? These are the countries where you will find the highest standard of living; this fact can be stated blatantly as it is entirely inarguable.

Imagine the Tutsi and Hutu men of Rwanda allowing their women to have a say in which village gets burned, or which adolescent female is raped, or which child gets abducted and conscripted. Would the culture have separated so completely if men were able to see women as equals? Well, not likely. Especially considering that if women were seen as equals then it can be presumed that peoples of various ethical and cultural upbringings would not be so difficult to view as equals, either. Would an Islamic man willingly go to his death if he valued the opinion of his wife? A wife that surely does not wish to be widowed--holy war hucksterism or not.

The empowerment of women can cure poverty and famine. In a time where we have enough food to give every single living person 2,100 calories a day but fail to, I recommend a new approach. We can take a vote to see if other people will agree, I'll bet I get at least 51% of the world's vote as a resounding "yes" on whether or not we should give women everywhere the empowerment of equality.