Monday, September 14, 2009

What would you send to Africa?

Would you send an ESV Study Bible or a microloan to a woman in Africa? April recently posted on the $100 million missing women in Asia. (Some girls are also missing in the school I teach in. 3 grades out of 7 have twice as many boys as girls. The other grades have a more even distribution. No grade has more girls than boys.)

Here is the article April linked to,
    Contrary to popular assumption, “developed” societies don’t necessarily treat women any better than developing nations. The education level and economic success of a society do not guarantee high status for women. According to an article by Tina Rosenberg, the sole determinant for women’s low social status is patriarchy. No matter how wealthy or educated a society is, if men are privileged women will suffer.

    The issue offers some good news. There is something that helps: microlending to women. Women who are loaned small amounts of money (sometimes the equivalent of $20) not only dramatically improve their own lives but also those of their families and their communities. From a sheer economic standpoint, lending to women is more effective than lending to men: women feed and educate their children and employ others. Several profiles of women put flesh on those statistics, telling moving stories of how women who are financially empowered are able to radically change their health and the power dynamics within their families. (Want to offer a microloan to a woman? Go to kiva.org.
Now for the other option. If you send an ESV Study Bible to Africa, the woman will be taught that she must submit to her husband, and he does not have to submit to her. Perhaps the loan will be wasted. The two are incompatible. So take your choice, but you can't have it both ways, either the loan or the ESV Study Bible.

2 comments:

Jay Seidler said...

I have done micro-financing in Laos and Thailand. Women are by far the most reliable borrowers. However, even in our good intentions we must be careful that that the women's situation is truly improved. One project in Nepal, procured milk cows for women in order to 1. improve the families' economy and 2. to improve the children's diet. The impact was that the women cared for and milked the cows, increasing their already numerous work responsibilities. The men? They took all the milk to the market to sell, not leaving any for the children to drink. After they sold the milk, they spent the money drinking in the town.

Don said...

Philip Payne writes a devastating 1 page critique of the ESV Study Bible in the latest Priscilla Papers Summer 2010.

He points out 27 departures from what they claim are their goals in dealing with texts on gender.