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Published by: Nguyễn Tiến Cương on Nov 22, 2012
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12/28/2013

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2011 Commonwealth Essay Competition
Deep Vaze (16), IndiaSenior Prize Winner
Discuss
 
the
 
statistic
 
that
 
51%
 
of 
 
the
 
world
 
are
 
women
 
but
 
only
 
8%
 
of 
 
countries
 
have
 
an
 
elected
 
female
 
leader.
 
 Are
 
fifty
one
 
percent
 
of 
 
the
 
world
 
women?
 
The
 
statistic
 
is
 
disputed.
 
As
 
Nobel
winning
 
economist
 
Amartya
 
Sen
 
shows
 
in
 
his
 
essay
 
‘More
 
than
 
100
 
million
 
Women
 
are
 
Missing’,
 
the
 
global
 
gender
 
imbalance
 
is
 
significant,
 
and
 
perhaps
 
growing
 
 –
 
especially
 
in
 
developing
 
countries.
 
Sen
 
argues
 
that
 
it
 
may
 
be
 
unwise
 
to
 
derive
 
a
 
global
 
ratio
 
by
 
“generalizing
 
from
 
the
 
contemporary
 
situation
 
in
 
Europe
 
and
 
North
 
America,
 
where
 
the
 
ratio
 
of 
 
women
 
to
 
men
 
is
 
typically
 
around
 
1.05
 
or
 
1.06,
 
or
 
higher.
 
In
 
South
 
Asia,
 
West
 
Asia,
 
and
 
China,
 
the
 
ratio
 
of 
 
women
 
to
 
men
 
can
 
be
 
as
 
low
 
as
 
0.94
 
or
 
even
 
lower.”
 
In
 
much
 
of 
 
the
 
developing
 
world,
 
societal
 
ignorance
 
and
 
neglect
 
 –
 
poverty’s
 
terrible
 
by
products
 
 –
 
conspire
 
against
 
girls,
 
often
 
from
 
the
 
moment
 
they
 
are
 
born.
 
In
 
agrarian
 
societies,
 
the
 
monetary
 
value
 
of 
 
male
 
children
 
appears
 
self 
evident:
 
boys
 
can
 
earn
 
their
 
keep
 
working
 
the
 
land,
 
provide
 
for
 
their
 
parents
 
in
 
old
 
age,
 
and
 
eventually
 
inherit
 
the
 
family
 
land.
 
By
 
contrast,
 
girls
 
are
 
often
 
viewed
 
as
 
a
 
drain
 
on
 
the
 
family
 
purse,
 
expensive
 
to
 
marry
 
off 
 
in
 
communities
 
where
 
dowries
 
are
 
still
 
accepted,
 
and
 
precluded
 
by
 
patriarchal
 
custom
 
from
 
inheriting
 
their
 
father’s
 
land.
 
Thus,
 
it
 
is
 
not
 
uncommon
 
amongst
 
poor
 
families
 
in
 
many
 
parts
 
of 
 
the
 
world
 
for
 
the
 
men
 
and
 
boys
 
to
 
be
 
fed
 
first,
 
or
 
for
 
boys
 
to
 
be
 
favoured
 
over
 
their
 
sisters
 
when
 
scarce
 
family
 
funds
 
are
 
allocated
 
for
 
school
 
fees
 
or
 
even
 
medical
 
expenses.
 
Consequently,
 
in
 
South
east
 
Asia
 
and
 
sub
Saharan
 
Africa
 
more
 
than
 
anywhere
 
else
 
in
 
the
 
world,
 
girls
 
die
 
prematurely
 
due
 
to
 
malnourishment
 
at
 
a
 
disproportionately
 
high
 
rate.
 
Of 
 
course,
 
this
 
applies
 
only
 
to
 
families
 
who
 
have
 
chosen
 
to
 
raise
 
a
 
girl
 
in
 
the
 
first
 
place.
 
Despite
 
legislation
 
to
 
stamp
 
out
 
female
 
infanticide
 
and
 
gender
based
 
abortion,
 
illicit
 
markets
 
continue
 
to
 
cater
 
to
 
desperate
 
parents
 
who
 
believe
 
they
 
are
 
too
 
poor
 
to
 
raise
 
a
 
daughter.
 
It
 
is,
 
appallingly,
 
still
 
no
 
exaggeration
 
to
 
say
 
that
 
at
 
the
 
poorest
 
levels
 
in
 
developing
 
countries,
 
girls
 
are
 
often
 
second
 
class
 
citizens
 
in
 
their
 
own
 
families.
 
With
 
such
 
a
 
start
 
in
 
life
 
and
 
such
 
bleak
 
prospects,
 
is
 
it
 
any
 
wonder
 
that
 
few
 
women
 
make
 
it
 
to
 
the
 
top
 
 job
 
in
 
government
 
in
 
developing
 
countries?
 
In
 
a
 
society
 
where
 
women
 
are
 
fewer
 
in
 
numbers
 
and
 
discriminated
 
against
 
from
 
birth
 
when
 
they
 
seek
 
access
 
to
 
nutrition,
 
health
 
care,
 
education
 
and
 
a
 
fair
 
inheritance,
 
should
 
we
 
really
 
be
 
surprised
 
that
 
so
 
few
 
women
 
have
 
realised
 
their
 
political
 
aspirations?
 
Those
 
that
 
have
 
tend
 
to
 
have
 
been
 
cocooned
 
from
 
the
 
systematic
 
subordination
 
that
 
many
 
of 
 
their
 
countrywomen
 
face.
 
India’s
 
Indira
 
Gandhi,
 
Pakistan’s
 
Benazir
 
Bhutto
 
and
 
Sri
 
Lanka’s
 
Chandrika
 
Kumaratunga
 
were
 
all
 
daughters
 
of 
 
charismatic
 
prime
 
ministers.
 
In
 
Bangladesh,
 
power
 
has
 
consistently
 
been
 
lobbed
 
back
 
and
 
forth
 
between
 
two
 
women:
 
Sheikh
 
Hasina,
 
the
 
daughter
 
of 
 
Bangladesh’s
 
founding
 
father,
 
Sheikh
 
Mujibur
 
Rahman,
 
and
 
Khaleda
 
Zia,
 
the
 
widow
 
of 
 
assassinated
 
1
 
 
president
 
and
 
former
 
army
 
chief 
 
Ziaur
 
Rahman.
 
The
 
achievements
 
of 
 
these
 
women
 
in
 
being
 
elected
 
to
 
the
 
highest
 
political
 
offices
 
in
 
four
 
of 
 
the
 
world’s
 
most
 
populous
 
countries
 
are
 
arguably
 
less
 
representative
 
of 
 
the
 
possibilities
 
open
 
to
 
most
 
Indian,
 
Pakistani,
 
Sri
 
Lankan
 
and
 
Bangladeshi
 
women
 
than
 
of 
 
the
 
enduring
 
power
 
and
 
privilege
 
of 
 
political
 
dynasties
 
in
 
the
 
Indian
 
subcontinent.
 
How
 
can
 
this
 
state
 
of 
 
affairs
 
be
 
corrected?
 
While
 
most
 
developing
 
countries
 
are
 
pursuing
 
vigorous
 
economic
 
development
 
and
 
headline
 
growth
 
rates,
 
it
 
is
 
worth
 
remembering
 
that
 
economic
 
development
 
is
 
not
 
a
 
panacea
 
for
 
all
 
of 
 
the
 
hardships
 
that
 
women
 
face.
 
While
 
growth
 
does
 
tend
 
to
 
bring
 
higher
 
literacy
 
rates
 
and
 
reduced
 
malnutrition,
 
it
 
does
 
not
 
automatically
 
result
 
in
 
dramatically
 
more
 
representative
 
government.
 
Even
 
in
 
developed
 
countries,
 
the
 
correlation
 
between
 
educational
 
attainment
 
and
 
public
 
leadership
 
has
 
not
 
been
 
apparent.
 
In
 
the
 
United
 
Kingdom,
 
for
 
instance,
 
over
 
50%
 
of 
 
women
 
hold
 
a
 
university
 
degree
 
compared
 
with
 
only
 
around
 
40%
 
of 
 
men,
 
yet
 
this
 
has
 
not
 
translated
 
into
 
political
 
power
 
 –
 
Margaret
 
Thatcher
 
stands
 
out
 
as
 
a
 
lone
 
female
 
prime
 
minister.
 
In
 
America
 
where
 
higher
 
education
 
figures
 
are
 
similar
 
to
 
those
 
in
 
the
 
UK,
 
less
 
than
 
3%
 
of 
 
Fortune
 
500
 
companies
 
have
 
a
 
woman
 
CEO.
 
Why?
 
Growth
 
and
 
globalisation
 
have
 
created
 
immense
 
economic
 
opportunities
 
for
 
well
educated
 
women
 
 –
 
but
 
they
 
have
 
also
 
brought
 
with
 
them
 
increasing
 
demands
 
on
 
time,
 
which
 
women,
 
still
 
often
 
the
 
primary
 
care
givers
 
in
 
families,
 
can
 
ill
 
afford.
 
Consider,
 
for
 
example,
 
the
 
modern
 
financial
 
sector.
 
With
 
the
 
ability
 
to
 
make
 
deals
 
instantly
 
across
 
time
zones,
 
money,
 
as
 
the
 
phrase
 
has
 
it,
 
truly
 
never
 
sleeps.
 
Those
 
who
 
trade
 
in
 
and
 
analyse
 
international
 
markets,
 
therefore,
 
increasingly
 
adopt
 
an
 
‘always
 
on
 
call’
 
lifestyle.
 
Such
 
lives
 
are
 
very
 
difficult
 
for
 
parents
 
with
 
young
 
children
 
to
 
sustain,
 
and
 
societal
 
mores
 
often
 
expect
 
a
 
woman
 
to
 
sacrifice
 
her
 
career
 
for
 
her
 
family.
 
Even
 
in
 
other
 
sectors,
 
a
 
globalized
 
workforce
 
necessitates
 
the
 
adoption
 
of 
 
globalized
 
working
 
times:
 
waking
 
up
 
at
 
dawn
 
in
 
Hong
 
Kong
 
to
 
 join
 
a
 
transnational
 
conference
 
call
 
with
 
Head
 
Office
 
in
 
California
 
is
 
now
 
considered
 
an
 
unremarkable
 
requirement
 
of 
 
professionals
 
from
 
diverse
 
fields.
 
Working
 
for
 
a
 
multinational
 
corporation
 
often
 
requires
 
global
 
flexibility:
 
moving
 
with
 
the
 
 job
 
and
 
uprooting
 
the
 
family.
 
Even
 
large
 
companies
 
often
 
fail
 
to
 
accommodate
 
the
 
needs
 
of 
 
working
 
parents
 
 –
 
by
 
providing
 
an
 
onsite
 
crèche,
 
for
 
example,
 
or
 
allowing
 
staff 
 
to
 
adopt
 
flexible
 
working
 
hours
 
 –
 
while
 
small
 
businesses
 
often
 
simply
 
cannot
 
afford
 
to
 
do
 
so.
 
With
 
so
 
many
 
highly
 
qualified
 
women
 
dropping
 
out
 
of 
 
the
 
workforce
 
mid
career
 
to
 
raise
 
families,
 
few
 
remain
 
to
 
attain
 
the
 
highest
 
offices
 
in
 
both
 
corporate
 
and
 
political
 
spheres.
 
The
 
case
 
of 
 
America’s
 
‘First
 
Family’
 
is
 
telling.
 
Michelle
 
Obama,
 
a
 
graduate
 
of 
 
Princeton
 
and
 
Harvard,
 
was
 
at
 
one
 
time
 
senior
 
to
 
her
 
husband
 
at
 
the
 
law
 
firm
 
where
 
they
 
met;
 
after
 
they
 
started
 
a
 
family,
 
it
 
was
 
Barack’s
 
career
 
that
 
accelerated.
 
How,
 
then,
 
can
 
we
 
get
 
more
 
women
 
to
 
prepare
 
for
 
and
 
attain
 
positions
 
of 
 
public
 
leadership?
 
It
 
is
 
important
 
to
 
remember
 
that
 
there
 
are
 
no
 
quick
 
fixes.
 
The
 
reasons
 
for
 
male
 
dominance
 
in
 
high
 
office
 
are
 
deep
rooted.
 
Religious
 
and
 
military
 
power
 
have
 
long
 
gone
 
hand
in
hand
 
with
 
political
 
might.
 
The
 
traditional
 
primacy
 
of 
 
war
 
in
 
national
 
life
 
has
 
naturally
 
favoured
 
men
 
aspiring
 
to
 
high
 
political
 
office.
 
And
 
those
 
seeking
 
to
 
exclude
 
women
 
from
 
public
 
office
 
have
 
also
 
often
 
used
 
selective
 
 –
 
and
 
self 
serving
 
 –
 
interpretations
 
of 
 
religious
 
texts
 
and
 
traditions
 
to
 
bolster
 
their
 
cause.
 
Governments
 
of 
 
both
 
developed
 
and
 
developing
 
countries
 
must
 
work
 
to
 
widen
 
the
 
pool
 
of 
 
capable
 
and
 
qualified
 
candidates
 
for
 
leadership
 
roles
 
throughout
 
society.
 
Only
 
when
 
women
 
regularly
 
attain
 
2
 

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