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100 Million Women Have Disappeared — What Can You Do?

Women around the world face dangerous systemic discrimination. Unequal access to necessities like medical care and food, in addition to violence and neglect, has contributed to the disappearance of as many as 100 million women in the developing world.

One woman sitting behind her computer screen in the so-called first world might not be able to do anything to reverse embedded inequality, but being aware of the plight of women might be the first step. Canadian economist Siwan Anderson hopes that tracking down the names and ages of missing women will help shine a light on the deadly gender inequality in places like India, China, the Middle East, and Africa.

President Obama brought up the treatment of women in his speech last week in Cairo. Obama said: "I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality." Women need more than words: perhaps Obama could promise not to support a cease-fire agreement with the Taliban in Afghanistan until they make concessions regarding women's rights, such as allowing women access to education and health care.

Should we call on our own leaders to help save women from premature deaths by putting pressure on developing countries, or should powerful nations decline to meddle in other cultures and social structures?


Join The Conversation
LittleMzFit LittleMzFit 8 years
It's a humanitarian issue. Therefore, it's an international issue that should be discussed through appropriate channels like U.N. I am not sure that it's politically correct for the U.S. to go in and police them ourselves (although we've already obtained that sort of reputation). We certainly can create awareness about their crimes against humanity and deny trade with them. It doesn't exactly solve the problem. Oftentimes, the situation worsens or remains. Look at Sudan and Darfur. Countries need to continue working together to put an end to such activity. Also, if we are to be truly concerned about women, children, and the value of human life we need to start with ourselves. On one hand we say "It's okay if you want to make the choice to have an abortion" and on the other hand we say to another country "Wait a minute, you have no respect for human life. Where are these women and children?" It sounds so hypocritical Education is critical in order to empower these women. Not only will it open doors so that they will be better able to provide for their families, but it will assist them in making informed choices. Perhaps they won't be so vulnerable and less likely to be taken advantage. There is so much corruption! Hopefully, the nation's political structure will support the reporting, investigation, and punishment of such occurrences in order to enforce humanitarian efforts.
telewyo telewyo 8 years
I think everyone should read the book Three Cups of Tea about an American mountain climber who went to Pakistan to climb K2 and ended up founding and running a non-profit that has built many schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan to give students a well balanced education instead of the radical schools that don't even teach math, they teach extremism. His efforts have shown that many parents would rather send their kids to a real school if one is available and he has been a driving force fighting for the education of girls (going to court multiple times and winning!). It's an amazing book about an amazing man! Donate to the Central Asia Institute and you can help those far away women! Education is the key to empowering women!
isahrangme isahrangme 8 years
Many powerful nations did relatively little in the beginning days of the Holocaust... This may or may not be related, but if those powerful nations had stepped in during the earlier days of the Holocaust, could all of those deaths have been prevented? Perhaps powerful nations today can step it up now to prevent the disappearance of more women...
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
I think that demanding more rights for women from the Taliban as part of a cease-fire negotiation is sort of putting the carriage before the horse. Why would they decide to change because they are forced to in order to stop being shot at?
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
I am on the fence. While it's natural to want other countries to treat their citizens fairly, I don't believe the US or any other country more powerful should have anything to do with it. I feel like we try to change people too much, and people cannot change if they don't want to. This is the United States, we are fairly progressive in areas, and we can tell how we differ from other underdeveloped countries. We started the equality movement when our country was good and ready. I think these countries we talk about saving from themselves need to get to that place themselves -- not having it force fed to them. Women SHOULD be treated equally. But even the united states didn't have another country coming in and trying to change us. We would have thrown a sh*t fit. I say we are so screwed as a country, we need to focus on us, instead of playing mommy to a country we know nothing about, and causing more harm than good. We have already done that. Why do it again? You cannot change people. ONE DAY, maybe many years from now, they will come around. I just think it's time we stop screwing around with other countries when we can't even do much for our own.
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