Good The Woman’s Crusade Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Women, Politics, Countries, Development, Developing Country, World, Developing, Money

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/10/05

The problem of women’s rights and systematic sexism and discrimination in the developing world has been a problem for some time now. However, according to “The Woman’s Crusade,” the actual circumstances in nations like India, Pakistan and others that subjugate women are actually leading to their eventual ability to support themselves and their families: “The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution” (Kristof & WuDunn 2009, para 2). The authors advocate for a greater focus on providing education and infrastructure to empower women to make something of themselves within their existing societies, rather than throwing foreign aid money to wallpaper over societal problems. Rather than dumping an incredible amount of money into foreign aid to stop the subjugation of women, we must simply focus on just enough help to give women there the tools to make it on their own.
The history of women’s subjugation in the developing world, particularly in the Middle East, is long-existing and ongoing, offering substantial consequences for the world at large: “if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater” (Kristof & WuDunn 2009, para 2). In developed countries like the United States, women’s rights in other nations is usually treated as “a ‘soft’ issue—worthy but marginal” (Kristof & WuDunn 2009, para 14). To that end, foreign aid meant to address women’s issues of prostitution, poverty and abuse are not targeted in effective ways, if at all: “poor, uneducated women in Africa and Asia have never been a priority either in their own countries or to donor nations” (Kristof & WuDunn 2009, para 22). Because of the relative ineffectiveness of current efforts, and ongoing apathy towards the plight of women in developing countries, ways must be found to help the women there help themselves.
The first (and most important) reason we should reevaluate the way we currently allocate foreign aid to women’s groups in foreign nations is that our current system just does not work. “There has been no correlation between amounts of aid going to countries and their economic growth rates” (Kristof & WuDunn 2009, para 33). The authors of “The Women’s Crusade” believe, therefore, that aid is best used “as a kind of lubricant, a few drops of oil in the crankcase of the developing world, so that gears move freely again on their own” (Kristof & WuDunn 2009, para 57). While foreign aid as a concept is not a bad idea, it is ineffectively applied; the authors note that more money should be spent on education and on major medical issues to create conditions in which women can empower themselves to find their own economic solutions to problems.
Furthermore, women in developing countries are beginning to find ways to assert themselves on their own, dealing with the sexism and subjugation found in their societies by making themselves industrious and useful in the household. According to “The Woman’s Crusade,” “when women hold assets or gain incomes, family money is more likely to be spent on nutrition, medicine and housing, and consequently children are healthier.” (Kristof & WuDunn 2009, para 30). Women like Saima, who overcame the threat of divorce and remarriage, found herself investing in a crafts business that nets her family an incredible amount of income; while she has not corrected her family’s patriarchal ideas of womanhood, her status and respect has increased significantly with the help of her income (Kristof & WuDunn, 2009). Woman entrepreneurs should benefit instead from foreign investment, rather than strict foreign aid (Isaac, 2012).
While the idea of letting women empower themselves is admirable, it is also somewhat dangerous to consider the idea of reducing foreign aid for women’s groups in these countries. Many countries’ GDP is made entirely of foreign aid, making the sudden cutting off of foreign aid somewhat dangerous (Isaac, 2009). Furthermore, foreign aid does not unduly harm our national budget, consisting of about 1.4% of America’s total budget (Rubin, 2014). To that end, it is no trouble for us to keep sending foreign aid to other countries, and it can yield great returns if utilized appropriately. The issue of foreign aid is not necessarily at fault, rather its application – efforts and funds should be more focused on specific aims like education, offering tools for women to fix their societies and livelihoods on their own to create longer-lasting gains in the future.
Foreign aid to help women’s issues in foreign countries is a laudable goal; however, more effort should be placed on using the money to support female entrepreneurs and workers who want to make a living for themselves. This would allow them to be educated enough to make decisions on their own, and work from the inside of their respective countries to deal with the economic and social issues that plague nations like Egypt, Pakistan and others. In order to save women from subjugation in these countries, the best thing to do is to hand them the tools to get them out of their own situation.


Isaac, C. (2012, July 6). Forget foreign aid, focus on foreign investment in women entrepreneurs
Forbes. Retrieved from
Kristof, N.D., & WuDunn, S. (2009). The woman’s crusade. From Half the Sky: Turning
Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Alfred A. Knopf.
Rubin, J. (2014 Oct 6). Cut all foreign aid? That would be ‘dumb’ and dangerous. The
Washington Post. Retrieved from

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