Paul P. Mealing

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Monday, 27 February 2012

There is another world


I’ve been a contributor to Plan for decades now, though my contributions are modest. They send me a magazine from time to time, which I usually ignore, but this time they had a cover story titled: Bringing an end to child marriage.

When I look at all the squabbles we have in domestic politics, not just here, in Australia, but in other Western countries, this issue helps to put things in perspective. In the past week, the Australian government, despite having arguably the most resilient economy in the Western world, did it’s best to self-destruct by publicly brawling over a leadership challenge that had obviously been festering for years. In America, politicians argue over the fundamentals of health care as if it distinguishes a free economy from a State-run monopoly, even though much of the rest of the so-called Free World moved on from that debate decades ago.

There is another world that most of us don’t see or hear about or care about, but it comprises the bulk of the Earth’s population. In this world, our political debates seem downright petty, considering that most of us have a fridge with food in it, running water, electricity and heating, as well as a roof over our head.

The education of women is something we take for granted in the West, yet, in many cultures, young girls are still treated as bargaining chips in a household economy. If we weren’t so egocentric and culturally insulated from the rest of the world we might see how important this issue is and that we are in a position to help.

 I strongly believe that women are the key to the world’s future. I would like to see more aid given to women in developing countries directly because I think they are more likely to use it for their children’s benefit, whether it be in schooling or nutrition. The all-pervading patriarchal society is past its use-by date, not just in the West, but globally. Until it is universally recognised that women deserve exactly the same rights as men, then the disparity in wealth, prosperity and health will continue between the West and the rest.

This report depicts the clash between Western feminist values and traditional culture, where being born a woman is perceived as a liability by both sexes. This attitude is pervasive in much of the world – the Western perspective is not only recent but the exception.

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