Men Matter Too...
I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a wife. I have read Half the Sky and many other similar books and editorials and articles. I understand and support the concept of the Girl Effect. I am a supporter of CARE as well as other organizations and the tremendous work they do in building communities, providing education, promoting and protecting women's health and reproductive rights, providing for the feeding of countless hungry children and adults, etc.
And so it is with some concern that I read the cover tag of the July 2012 World Report newletter: "The women and children of Niger are suffering from one of the worst hunger crises in years..."
So are the men of Niger. It is not only mother's who are watching their children go hungery and die. Father's are too. Just as helpless to prevent it, just as bereft by the loss, just as devastated by their inability to provide for their children or themselves.
I assume that CARE feeds the hungry irrespective of gender and age. These are people in desperate conditions through no fault of their own. I urge you to avoid turning your emphasis on the (very important) empowerment of women into an advertising tag aimed at soliciting sympathy. Please tell the whole story. Cultural customs and history have trapped and suppressed women--this is true. They have also trapped men in different but corresponding ways. But it doesn't mean that the men are not also suffering, hungry, heartbroken, and despairing--looking and in need of help for themselves and their children.
Half of the children we are trying to feed and educate and protect are boys. Do they suddenly not matter any more once they are adults? Do they not have needs or feelings? Part of changing and empowering women and girls is that it changes and empowers the next generation of boys and men as well. The importance of this cannot be overstated and should not be overlooked.
Women. Men. Girls. Boys. They all matter to me. I hope they do to CARE as well.
Uri B. Chamberlain