Kathleen Parker’s “Women aren’t a side issue, they are the main issue” (column, 4-5) asserts that protecting women should be at the core of our foreign policy.
How true. It is in our strategic interest to save women and children of the world through U.S. development efforts. If given the chance, women can be the stabilizing elements of any society. Educating children to at least the primary level, especially girls, provides the economic and personal empowerment allowing them to make healthier choices for themselves and their families.
Microcredit programs that reach out to women in poverty offer them an alternative to a life of despair, providing them with the income they need to start small businesses and earn a living with dignity. Women themselves benefit within the home and community from the higher social status they achieve when they are able to provide income.
As Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, “Development is a lot cheaper than sendiEmpng soldiers.”