Monday, April 19, 2010

Yemen is a Hellhole

I heard on NPR this afternoon about Yemeni girls as young as 9 being forcibly married and raped by their older husbands. Recently, a 13 year old child bride was raped to death by her 23 year old husband. I suppose "rape" isn't really the right word here. After all, in Yemen, as in some states of the US not so long ago, a man has a right to have sex with his wife and to use the force necessary to enforce that right.

Places like Yemen will always be hellholes as long as women are this unempowered. It seems to me that there is a direct correlation between the status of women and the degree of civilization in a place. The more equal women are to men and the more opportunities they have, the better the place is to live for everyone. The creativity and ambition of women, once released from repression, enriches society in manifold ways.

I pledge to avoid doing business or spending tourism dollars in any place that allows women and little girls to be treated so badly, and I urge others to do the same unless such spending or consumption benefits women. Not that I was planning a trip to Yemen. I just aim to be more mindful of this issue.

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