Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn provide a rich description of the various kinds of violence, deprivation, depredation and exploitation that women experience on a vast scale in the developing world. They write of sex trafficking, acid attacks, “bride burning,” enslavement, spousal beatings, unequal healthcare (something the USA still struggles with), insufficient food, gendered abortions and infant and maternal mortality. They are right to identify the education of women and girls as part of the solution to the widespread “gendercide.” However, their approach focuses too much on the capacity, indeed the virtue or heroism, of individual women. It does not take adequate account of systemic factors, as many IR, peace and development scholars have done.

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