Something Baad is Happening in Afghanistan

Ghulam, 11, sits next to her husband-to-be Mohammed, 40. Source: AP Photo/UNICEF, Stephanie Sinclair, HO

Afghanistan is not known for its stellar women’s rights record. Over the past century, the status of women has been on a metaphorical see-saw; small improvements have brought hope, only to be followed by drastic steps backward, bringing the status of women to an even lower position than before. The war in Afghanistan brought promise of steep reform and the reemergence of female empowerment in the country. It’s been just over a decade since the war began, however, and there’s been little improvement for women in that time. Continue reading


When Girls Become Liabilities: The Trend of Gendercide in India

Source: The Economist

As illustrated in previous blog posts, women could play a major role in development if societal barriers to education and employment were eliminated. However, these barriers are especially difficult to overcome, as they are molded by centuries of discrimination and unequal treatment.  The act of ‘gendercide’ has been particularly difficult to overlook.

As the name implies, gendercide is “gender-selective mass killing.” The act can refer to the targeting of both males and females; however, the targeting of female infants, or female infanticide, has become deeply embedded in numerous cultures throughout the world. In East Asia specifically, this custom has come as a result of a cultural favoritism for boys over girls. Reasoning varies by region; however, does tend to be primarily economic. Girls are regarded as “liabilities” to the family and the prospects of having a male child are welcomed as a result. Continue reading

Girls Rule, Boys Drool: Gender-based Development

The Girl Effect.

The role of gender in development is not a new topic, and it is not one that should be taken lightly. Several studies have found that the inclusion of women in education, employment, and financial decisions can positively impact the economic growth of a country. Zap It to Me, a case study published by the Center for Global Development, shows that mobile cash transfers give women more control over the money in a household, and therefore give women more authority with decision-making. In addition, women are statistically more likely to use money for the family than men. An article by Business Week shows that there is an overwhelming 90 percent chance that women will use their salary to invest in their family – for men, the possibility is just 30-40 percent.

In 2008, the Nike foundation, along with the NoVo Foundation, United Nations Foundation, and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, launched an ambitious new program called ‘The Girl Effect.’ The program aims to tap into the economic potential of women in order to break the cycle of poverty and abuse in developing countries. The Girl Effect promotes the argument that giving girls access to employment would add $3 billion to a developing country’s economy. By giving a young girl access to education, she is given access to better employment, better wages, better knowledge of HIV/AIDS prevention, and has a future investment in the education of her own children. In addition, by marrying at a later age, girls are less likely to suffer domestic violence from their husbands. Continue reading