|Promotional art for The Simpsons episode, |
Girls Just Want to Have Sums
There is an episode of the animated television show The Simpsons, where one of the characters gets himself into a lot of trouble for making a series of unintentionally disparaging remarks about the achievement of a woman. That character, Principal Skinner, the head of the elementary or primary school is trying to praise a past student, who has returned to her hometown as director of a stage show.
Each remark, is interpreted as sexist, until Skinner is seen begging anyone to “just tell me what I need to say to make it all go away”.
I kept running that through my head when trying to write this post on gender issues. Was I saying the right thing, or was I about to drop myself in it, saying something inadvertently wrong.
The point here is how complicated the whole issue can be (warning – potential dumb, Skinner-style comment following). The cause of at least some of that complexity is the differing circumstances of women in the developing world, particularly those who run smallholder farms, particularly when viewed from the lens of the expectations and realities surrounding equality in the developing world.
And the reality is that the majority of the 500 million or so smallholder farms in the developing world are run by women.