Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Next Time I Will Procrastinate More Productively

So I've been a bit addicted to iGoogle, which is a customizable web page where you can get news feeds and other web content delivered to you in one place. They have some pre-designed templates ("themes") that you can apply to your iGoogle page for visual variety. This is their Classic theme, which I use for my home page:

I poked around a bit and found that someone had designed one for CARE International, and as you know (or maybe you didn't) I was doing my practicum last semester with CARE Thailand.

Anyway, I came upon some comments that people had posted about the template. The description given for CARE was this: "CARE fights global poverty by empowering women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities. Learn more at www.care.org."

It's from their website but I don't think it's their official boilerplate, because I know for a fact that their work doesn't focus exclusively on women and girls.

Anyway, someone had posted the following comment:

Charity for all... Anonymous - Jan 10, 2009 - Report this comment

Males are just as affected by famine and hunger as females. I don't understand this charity's preference and emphasis on the female sex (sexism?). Please explain.

I don't know why I bothered to explain, since the audience for the CARE iGoogle Theme Comments Page is probably even smaller than the one that reads my blog. Usually I write off infuriating comments as the gaseous by-product of ignorant commentators. But for some reason tonight I was compelled to explain. And quite politely, if I do say so myself.

Response to "Charity for all..." Anonymous - Jan 28, 2009

Actually males are not affected by famine and hunger the same way as females. Females, and girls in particular, are more vulnerable to natural disasters, disease, poverty, conflict and every other misfortune that life doles out in developing countries. They have a higher rate of HIV infection, lower levels of education, and fewer opportunities to earn money to support themselves and their families.

This is because in most cultures women and girls do not have the same social status as men. They are not valued as equal members of society. Many men in these cultures will tell you that women are property. They will tell you how many cows you should pay in order to get a wife.

In poor families, girls are passed over for education in favor of boys. Uneducated or poorly-educated females have fewer (no) opportunities to earn money. Without economic power they depend on their husbands for support. If these women do not have husbands or are widowed by disease or war, they're out of luck. If their husbands are abusive, drunk, unemployed or generally irresponsible, these women have no way to escape their situation. In many cultures a woman is blamed and/or rejected, often by her own family, if she tries to leave an abusive or exploitative marriage.

In many cultures, women do 90% of the work in a household (cooking, cleaning, fetching water, taking care of the kids, often even farming) but has virtually no say in how or when money is spent for the household - or when they get to have sex.

Without social status women do not have a public voice; they are not allowed to enter forums where the exchange of ideas occurs that bring about the changes that benefit them, their families, and their communities.

CARE does not "prefer" women/girls over men/boys; they simply know that giving women and girls the resources to support themselves and their family benefits the community as a whole - including men.

Having said that, if you go to their website you'll see that they have a broad range of projects, not just those targeting girls and women. http://www.care.org.

P.S. The light orange link color is hard to read. Please change.


Molly Jr said...

Damn straight!

MB said...

You said it all!

Ebony said...

that was some pretty productive procrastinating. i must say that i needed to read and remember that.