Gender and Justice Today -- By: Ronald J. Sider

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 21:2 (Spring 2007)
Article: Gender and Justice Today
Author: Ronald J. Sider


Gender and Justice Today

Ronald J. Sider

RON SIDER is founder and president of Evangelicals for Social Action. His groundbreaking book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, has been hailed by Christianity Today as one of the one hundred most influential books in religion in the twentieth century. He has published more than twenty-eight books and is a founding board member of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment.

A dramatic statement in a United Nations document in 1980 has often been repeated: “Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, produce half of the world’s food, and yet earn only ten percent of the world’s income and own less than one percent of the world’s property.”1 If that generalization is even close to being accurate, then enormous injustice against women is rampant in our world today. That is the focus of this article.

But there is a big problem. We do not have nearly enough hard data to describe with precision exactly where and how much injustice against women exists today. On January 18, 2006, the Global Policy Forum issued a press release launching a major report called “The World’s Women 2005: Progress in Statistics.” This groundbreaking study by the United Nations attempted to describe what good statistical data we have (and do not have) today. The basic conclusion was that in many areas it is not very good.2

That is not to suggest that we know so little that we cannot say with certainty that major injustice against women exists. The United Nations reports that 70 percent of the world’s poorest people are women.3 Michael Todaro, the author of one of the most prestigious textbooks on economic development, says that “women and children are more likely to be poor and malnourished, and less likely to receive medical services, clean water, sanitation and other benefits.”4

I want to lay out what we know in six areas:

  1. A preference for boys that leads to tens of millions of “missing women”
  2. Inequality in education
  3. Inequality in health
  4. Inequality in ownership of property and work
  5. Violence against women
  6. Sexual trafficking and prostitution

The data are better in some areas than others.

A preference for boys and tens of millions of “missing women”

In a landmark article in 1990, Amartya Sen (a distinguished economist and later Nobel laureate) estimated that approximately 100 million women were missing. The reason? A cultural ...

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