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So, is it the point that economic improvements/empowerment will eventually off-set culturally derived discrimination?

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Aug 21st, 2009 at 12:34:13 PM EST
Gringo: So, is it the point that economic improvements/empowerment will eventually off-set culturally derived discrimination?

Good question.  What is striking about this piece is how vividly it demonstrates the power of Money to overthrow (undermine?) age-old cultural norms in the matter of a few short years.  In this case, Money trumped misogyny, seemingly with ease:

A Pakistani woman is often forbidden to leave the house without her husband's permission, but husbands tolerate these meetings because the women return with cash and investment ideas. <...>

Saima took her elder daughter back from the aunt and began paying off her husband's debt. <...>

She doesn't even pretend to be subordinate to her husband. ... He has become more impressed with females in general: Saima had a third child, also a girl, but now that's not a problem. "Girls are just as good as boys," he explained. <...>

Sharifa Bibi, the mother-in-law, looked shocked when we asked whether she wanted her son to take a second wife to bear a son. "No, no," she said. "Saima is bringing so much to this house. . . . She puts a roof over our heads and food on the table." ...

Well, then again:

"A woman should know her limits, and if not, then it's her husband's right to beat her," Sharifa said. "But if a woman earns more than her husband, it's difficult for him to discipline her."


The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.
by marco on Fri Aug 21st, 2009 at 02:27:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gringo: So, is it the point that economic improvements/empowerment will eventually off-set culturally derived discrimination?

marco: Good question.  What is striking about this piece is how vividly it demonstrates the power of Money to overthrow (undermine?) age-old cultural norms in the matter of a few short years.  In this case, Money trumped misogyny, seemingly with ease:


It does not strike it as so odd for me. Whenever factor prices are distorted in the market then it is bound to be caused by cultural or political constraints on markets to allocate resources to their most productive uses. Even Marx understood to destroy feudalism the rise of "capitalism" {sic} was the tool to do it.

Whenever I see when resources are not allocated efficiently, I immediately consider what is distorting the markets either through laws or customs.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford

by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Sat Aug 22nd, 2009 at 06:13:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think another point is that women are generally far better at looking after the welfare of families then men are:

Our interviews and perusal of the data available suggest that the poorest families in the world spend approximately 10 times as much (20 percent of their incomes on average) on a combination of alcohol, prostitution, candy, sugary drinks and lavish feasts as they do on educating their children (2 percent).

<...>

"When women command greater power, child health and nutrition improves," Duflo says.

So, if you give women more economic power, children's -- in particular, daughters' -- well-being will improve, and over time the entire community' well-being will improve (in no small part because those daughters will grow up with more economic power and in a better position to contribute to society.)

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.

by marco on Fri Aug 21st, 2009 at 02:54:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
marco, you have made a lot of interesting comments here but have you considered making a comment or two at another diary {Male bias in macro-economics???} of similar concepts discussed?

I agree with your sentiment, but I have to point out that when you state:

I think another point is that women are generally far better at looking after the welfare of families then men are:

The message supports the sexual divisions of labor in the household and then by default divisions of labor in the market. While it is empirically as well as anecdotaly correct, it still supports the "reproductive role of women" in the household under the auspices of New Household Economics. This in turn leaves women in the triple role in the family that may not always be the best for the family/household unit or for women themselves of the "reproductive role", "productive role" and "community managing role" {as described by Moser, 1993}.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Sat Aug 22nd, 2009 at 05:18:15 PM EST
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