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Hi Amy! I am doing an essay paper on women's rights in developing countries, focusing especially on how improving the status of women in third world countries will help develop the countries. I was wondering if you had any information on why it is so important to allow women to take part in social, economic and industrial sections of life. Thank you, Dana

Thanks for your note. I think that the most important thing to keep in mind when working with women in developing countries is that your role should be "helping them to help themselves"--not enforcing yourselves on them. This has been a problem when western people have set out to "help" women in developing countries. They have also wrongly assumed that what is "western" is for some reason "better" than what these women know in their own countries.

I think the example of economic development is a good one--this concept of microlending was pioneered in Bangladesh and India and then came to western world--from this example many people realized that we in fact did have a lot to learn from those who are "less developed."

Also, there has been much necessary and recent attention focused on sustainable living--as we realize that living sustainably is how we must live, there will be even greater attention focused on the developing world and what we westerners can learn from them.

Besides the economic development model--or access to money and credit--the one area that has proven to make a difference in the lives of women around the world is access to education. Those women who have access to education are more likely to have fewer children, to have them later, and to have a quicker path out of poverty. So access to education is certainly key.

I hope that helps--sorry to ramble.


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