Foreign governments that restrict women’s freedoms are severely retarding global economic progress. The United Nations released a report today indicating that the number of hungry people in the world might be reduced by 150 million if women worldwide were allowed equal access to tools, resources, and markets.
This isn’t revelatory. Women are over 50% of the world population. When a society limits women’s rights, it limits economic productivity. Developing nations desperately need more people producing. Allowing women equal access to the means of production won’t just generate a net increase in products; it’ll also increase trade, competition, and innovation.
Advocates of women’s rights can talk about gender equality as a matter of liberty, a matter of justice, or a matter of right; but for developing nations, it’s best framed as a matter of national welfare. Countries with exclusionary laws or customs will not develop into true first-world competitors on the global market. How can they, when they’re preventing half of their citizens from maximizing their productivity?