Why nations that fail women fail
And why foreign policy should pay more heed to half of humanity
After america and its allies toppled the Taliban in 2001, primary-school enrollment of Afghan girls rose from 0% to above 80%. Infant mortality fell by half. Forced marriage was made illegal. Many of those schools were ropy, and many families ignored the law. But no one seriously doubts that Afghan women and girls have made great gains in the past 20 years, or that those gains are now in jeopardy.
The United States is “committed to advancing gender equality” through its foreign policy, according to the State Department. Bequeathing billions of dollars-worth of arms and a medium-size country to a group of violent misogynists is an odd way to show it. Of course, foreign policy involves difficult trade-offs. But there is growing evidence that Hillary Clinton was on to something when she said, a decade ago, that “The subjugation of women is…a threat to the common security of our world.” Societies that oppress women are far more likely to be violent and unstable.