Equality for Women Must Start at Home (Even the Gates Home)

From Wall Street Journal authored by Melinda Gates:

“A few years ago, as I was starting to study the household burdens of the world’s poorest women, a colleague in our foundation’s India office told me about meeting Champa. She was a 22-year-old mother who lived in a tribal region of central India. Her daughter, Rani, was dying of acute malnutrition. The situation was desperate but not hopeless: There was a treatment center only a few hours away.

If Champa could get her there, they could almost certainly save Rani’s life. But Champa couldn’t leave the house without her father-in-law’s permission, and he was adamant that Champa was needed at home to cook for the family. “It’s out of the question,” he insisted.

Eventually, health workers were able to intervene and take Rani to the treatment center themselves. Champa stayed home, cooking and worrying, powerless to protect her child.

Perhaps the worst part about Champa’s story is that it’s not unique. “I’ve seen it time and again,” my colleague told me. Champa is one of millions of women around the world who are chained down by an expectation that women should spend their hours doing unpaid work at home.”

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