Monday, August 24, 2009

NYT Magazine: Women's Rights and Human Rights

The Times Magazine had a complete issue on the question of women's rights this past weekend, anchored by the work of Nicholas Kristof, and reflecting themes he has followed in his column for some time: sex trafficking, micro-finance for the developing world, and maternal mortality. Today's Reading links to the audio slideshow overview.

I'll be mining this issue for blog entries this week. Let's start small and personal: money -- "stewardship" as we say in the Christian biz. "The Power of the Purse" talks about patterns of giving in women's philanthropy, written by Lisa Belkin whose focus is, as usual, the fabulous among us (note obligatory photo featuring handbags).

But the point is important: women, too, have energy and clout and can choose where to direct their efforts. In "Happiness: a buyer's guide," Drake Bennett fills out the behavioral picture, citing new studies that set aside the question of whether more stuff or less stuff correlates with happiness (answer: not so much). The new approach asks whether spending on ourselves or others correlates with happiness -- and I'm guessing you know the answer already.

My real argument here is not about saving your latte money once a month for a little girl who will send you crayoned notes of gratitude to post on your Sub-Zero (ok, my fridge is a Kenmore). But it can start there.

Bottom line: being overwhelmed doesn't help. Being connected does -- so check out Kristof's work.

UPDATE for readers: Paulson reports on Roy Bourgeois' talk in Weston yesterday: "Priest takes church to task for not ordaining women."