a bird and a bottle

Gender Inequality is Bad for Children’s Health
December 13, 2006, 10:35 pm
Filed under: feminism/s & gender, news

Add another point to the “contrary to what the anti-woman American right wing thinks, treating women poorly is not good for kids” column.

BBC News reports that when women are not treated as equal to men, children are more likely to be malnourished and families are more likely to suffer from poverty.  The article, based on a new UN study, says that a lack of opportunity for womentrickles down to their children – boys and girls.

How do we explain this? The BBC article suggests that it may be because the person who earns the most tends to control the expenditure of family funds. Or it could be that in many families, a child must take care of housework so that both parents can work, sometimes multiple jobs, to make ends meet.

Whatever the cause, the ramifications are clear. In order to improve children’s health, we need to increase respect for women worldwide and cross-culturally. Not an easy task, but certainly a noble goal — and one that everyone should be able to agree with. If not for the sake of women, then at least for their children.*

* I want to be clear that I don’t buy into this “treat women through their children” rhetoric. It has been used too much to subordinate women to their children and their fetuses (I keep going back to the fact that SCHIP insures fetuses but not their mothers). But so long as the rhetoric persists, we may as well try to use it to our benefit wherever possible. This seems like one of those situations. Or maybe not – I’d be curious to read what others have to think about this in comments.

(via fishwatch).


1 Comment so far
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Though I’m not surprised at the statistics, I would hesitate on the cause-effect conclusion that is drawn in that article. It seems more likely that it’s an cyclical association, rather than a direct cause. Poverty, neglect, abuse, lack of education, and other socioeconomic factors are all related. An imbalance in power within a family is both a symptom and a cause.

But I agree with you, every little bit helps, and those cycles have to be broken somewhere.

Comment by viveth

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