Sunday, May 05, 2013

Some problems are easy to solve

I recently finished taking MITx: 14.73x The Challenges of Global Poverty, which gave an excellent introduction to this very large and difficult problem.  There is no magic bullet to all the barriers that the poor face.

But, I read this article today and can offer a simple solution.
MATEELA, Pakistan (AP) — For decades, not a single woman in this dusty Pakistani village surrounded by wheat fields and orange trees has voted. And they aren't likely to in next week's parliamentary election either. The village's men have spoken.

"It's the will of my husband," said one woman, Fatma Shamshed. "This is the decision of all the families."

Mateela is one of 564 out of the 64,000 polling districts across Pakistan where not a single woman voted in the country's 2008 election. The men from this village of roughly 9,000 people got together with other nearby communities to decide that their women would not vote on May 11 either.
Yar Mohammed, one of the village elders, insisted it isn't a matter of discrimination. The problem, he said, is that the local polling station is mixed gender. The men worry that their wives and daughters will be harassed, so they want a separate women's station. In some places, but not all, polls are specified for men or women only.

"We stop our women from going to polling stations because we think if they do, men would tease them by staring or touching them," he said.
Instead of disenfranchising women from the democratic process because they might be harrassed by men, why not just let everyone vote, but disenfranchise the harassers?

Easy, peasy.  You have any other problems you want me to solve?  ;-)

I've posted further thoughts in maybe not so easy.


  1. How about polling stations only for women? Or even better,only allowing women to vote for a change? Problem solved ;)

  2. @LHC, separate polling stations are subject to rampant fraud. As only men can travel on roads alone, what's to stop them from destroying all the ballots from women's polling places in transport?

    Ballot box disappearances are common in some parts of the world.

    Separate is not equal.

    The only way to guard against that is to intermingle the ballots of men and women.

  3. How about having designated time slots when women can vote? The ballots will still be mixed in the box.

  4. I took that class too! It is dizzying trying to solve all the issues at once. The class taught me a lot; I'm glad I did it. Am I the only one though that can see Americans making decisions just like third world countries within 2 generations if things don't change?


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