Yes! This is an EXCELLENT response to the book many have read and heard about “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” especially as the Sunday New York times dedicated its entire issue to “Why Women’s Rights Are the Cause of Our Time.”
In reponse to this book and the quotes excerpted from the New York Times regarding this issue, author Carolyn McCulley writes:
“These are shocking, sinful statistics. They must be challenged and changed. For that reason, I am very grateful for the journalistic efforts of Kristof and WuDunn. For the same reason, I was also very grateful for the attention Secretary Clinton brought to the status of women in Africa during her visit last week.
But having researched the history of feminism in the Western world for my own book, I am also reminded of the course of our women’s history. In many ways, though perhaps not as extreme, we issued the same complaints. Women in the 19th century complained of men making the same poor financial expenditures on alcohol and prostitutes, that women didn’t have equality in education, and that maternal health was a neglected medical priority. But as women fought for equality, we found the fight remained long after the battles were won. Because men were identified as the problem, the gender war has never been fully resolved. Instead of unifying marriages and families, this ongoing battle continues to fracture them. So my concern is that we will import some of these same values into our efforts to help women around the world.
In fact, the opening illustration of Kristof and WuDunn’s article in my opinion illustrates this perfectly. It is about a Pakistani couple where the husband is sinning terribly against his wife by beating her and otherwise neglecting her. She is in despair until she receives a microfinance loan, which enables her to set up a small embroidery business. Soon she is the village business mogul, able to employ many others and pay off her husband’s debts. He no longer beats her because she is too valuable, and he has come around to the view that girls are just as good as boys.
And that’s where the story ends. Yay . . . but only half a yay, really. He stopped beating her, but where is the true partnership? Where is the true repentance? Only the gospel can address sin and redemption. Economic parity can’t be the ultimate solution because it can’t address the heart issues. And this brings me back to why I think Christians need to be involved. If we preach equality because it’s found on page one of the Bible, then we should be leading the charge in this area. But our solutions will be different because our end goals are different. Yes, we want to empower women. Yes, we want women to be educated. Yes, we want families to be healthier and more prosperous. But we don’t want to do this by lifting up one person in the family at the expense of another. We have to help men change, too, by preaching the gospel and teaching them to truly apply the Ephesians 5 mandate to love their wives as Christ loved the church — without concern for cultural practices or restrictions. They must fear God and His word more than the opinions of other men and the way things are currently done in their culture.
As Christians, we have an opportunity here to help families around the world by both standing against incredible injustice against women and by preaching the gospel of reconciliation. Let’s not lose any ground to lesser solutions. ”
(excerpted from Solo Feminity Blog)
(Photos: The New York Times)