Sunday, January 25, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Kristof: Aiding women is a solution to world’s ills

KristofW

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, left, chats with Tererai Trent, center, and Kimberlee Shauman during a panel discussion Monday at the Mondavi Center. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | January 14, 2014 |

With images of starving girls in an Ethiopian feeding center projected behind him, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof argued Monday that ending the oppression faced by women and girls around the world stands as the central moral challenge of the 21st century.

“Often when there isn’t enough food to go around, food is directed to sons and not daughters,” Kristof told a Mondavi Center audience. “When a son is sick, he’s taken to the doctor. When a daughter is sick, you sort of feel her forehead and say, ‘Well, let’s see how you’re doing tomorrow.’ ”

In a decade’s time, more girls are “discriminated to death” than all the people killed in the all of the genocides of the 21st century, said Kristof, the co-author of this year’s UC Davis Campus Community Book Project selection, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide.” He penned the book with his wife, fellow Pulitzer Prize winner and former Times colleague, Sheryl WuDunn.

The flip side of the deprivation and oppression women face is the opportunity they represent, Kristof said. When it comes to fighting poverty or creating more secure societies, investing in the education and health of women pays huge dividends.

“Women and girls aren’t the problem,” he said, “but the solution.”

Kristof wrote the first of a series of stories and columns on sex trafficking in 1997. He found kidnapped girls, some as young as 7 or 8 years old, living in brothels — sometimes in cages — that auctioned off their virginity.

At one point, he bought the freedom of two girls for $350.

“What really shook me, when I bought these two girls, is that I got written receipts for buying them, like buying a cow,” he said.

Kristof credited the U.S. State Department, aid organizations and journalists with pressuring Cambodian authorities enough that local police demanded bigger bribes to look the other way, forcing many brothels out of business.

Americans need to urge police here to not treat as criminals girls and women forced into prostitution and kept there under threat of violence — many of whom are runaways fleeing broken homes in disadvantaged communities — but instead reduce demand by arresting customers, he said.

He also urged support for organizations like the Sacramento nonprofit Bridget’s Dream, which works to combat trafficking.

“We (in the United States) don’t have the moral authority to tell other countries to clean up their act unless we do more right here at home,” he said.

Americans also must overcome their own “toxic” debate over reproductive rights and support family planning and maternal health efforts, Kristof said.

“In most of the world, just about the most dangerous thing a woman can do is get pregnant,” he said.

In Niger, for instance, one in seven women die during pregnancy or childbirth. For every woman who dies during childbirth worldwide, another 20 are injured, he said.

Kristof told the story of Mahabouba Mohammed, a 13-year-old Ethiopian girl who was raped, then gave birth alone. She suffered an obstetric fistula, which causes a woman to leak urine or feces through her vagina, and nerve damage in both legs.

Villagers left her in a doorless hut to be eaten by hyenas. She fought off the animals, then crawled 30 miles to find a missionary who, in turn, rushed her to an American surgeon who gave her the $450 surgery she needed. Mohammed is now a nurse at the same hospital.

Educating women increases their capacity to earn money and support their family while creating more stable and tolerant societies, Kristof said.

The subject of another of his columns, Beatrice Biira, collected firewood and water for her Ugandan family, which couldn’t afford to send her to school. The gift of a goat from a Connecticut church, through the charity Heifer International, enabled the family to earn the needed money by selling milk.

Biira excelled in school and became the first person from her village to study abroad, earning a degree at Connecticut College.

Kristof said that while there are reasons to be concerned about corruption and inefficiency in charitable organizations, there is equally real evidence of the positive effect they can have. Listening to the communities they are helping and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions has helped aid organizations do a better job, he said.

He urged students, in particular, to go abroad or work with the poor here at home, as a way to gain perspective and find fulfillment.

For information about other Campus Community Book Project events, see http://occr.ucdavis.edu/book-project.html.

Online: http://www.halftheskymovement.org

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Red Cross honors community heroes

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Winter produce available at Sutter market

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Donations to be distributed during homeless count

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Speaker will share computer security tips

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

     
    Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Davis, Woodland are saving water

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

     
    Music and Words Festival events

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    Caring for the aging mouth

    By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

     
    Family isn’t keen on relationship

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

     
    We have the right to choose

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    We don’t have to suffer

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    City helped immensely

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

     
    Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

    From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD men take two tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

    By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Thomas George Byrne

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8