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Gringo: So, is it the point that economic improvements/empowerment will eventually off-set culturally derived discrimination?

Good question.  What is striking about this piece is how vividly it demonstrates the power of Money to overthrow (undermine?) age-old cultural norms in the matter of a few short years.  In this case, Money trumped misogyny, seemingly with ease:

A Pakistani woman is often forbidden to leave the house without her husband's permission, but husbands tolerate these meetings because the women return with cash and investment ideas. <...>

Saima took her elder daughter back from the aunt and began paying off her husband's debt. <...>

She doesn't even pretend to be subordinate to her husband. ... He has become more impressed with females in general: Saima had a third child, also a girl, but now that's not a problem. "Girls are just as good as boys," he explained. <...>

Sharifa Bibi, the mother-in-law, looked shocked when we asked whether she wanted her son to take a second wife to bear a son. "No, no," she said. "Saima is bringing so much to this house. . . . She puts a roof over our heads and food on the table." ...

Well, then again:

"A woman should know her limits, and if not, then it's her husband's right to beat her," Sharifa said. "But if a woman earns more than her husband, it's difficult for him to discipline her."

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.
by marco on Fri Aug 21st, 2009 at 02:27:31 PM EST
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