Women for Integration

The past decade has proven again and again that empowering women worldwide holds the key to solving massive, seemingly intractable issues that have otherwise stymied policymakers. The tensions and conflicts around immigration in Europe could be yet another issue for which the empowerment of women holds a hidden solution.

COPENHAGEN The past decade has proven again and again that empowering women worldwide holds the key to solving many seemingly intractable issues that have otherwise stymied policymakers. Poverty in the developing world seemed ineradicable until micro-lenders saw millions of low-income, destitute women as potential entrepreneurs. Involving African women in decision-making about crop production turns out to enable environmentally sustainable farming practices. Runaway population growth becomes controllable when women have access to literacy and business opportunities as well as to contraception.

Could the tensions and conflicts surrounding the issue of immigration in Europe be yet another issue for which the empowerment of women holds a solution?

In a recent visit to Copenhagen to commemorate International Women’s Day, I took part in many conversations that duplicate others throughout Europe: citizens from across the political spectrum were struggling with the issue of non-European immigration and the cultural tensions that have ensued. What does it mean to be Danish, German, or French in the presence of these millions of newcomers, most of whom come from non-democratic societies?

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