“You have to begin with the optimism that you can make a difference.” As Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen concluded his speech, the audience rose to its feet, honoring him with thunderous applause for sounding the alarm on sex ratio imbalances and advocating for the world’s poorest, most voiceless women. Professor Sen addressed the subject of gendercide at the University of Texas at Dallas on Friday, April 24 in a lecture entitled “Women: Survival and Empowerment.”
Amartya Sen’s Distinctions Include:
Nobel Prize in Economics, 1998
“World’s 50 Most Influential People,” Time Magazine
“Third Most Influential Thought Leader of 2014” GDI
Professor of Economics & Philosophy, Harvard University
First Scholar to Measure Gendercide
Much of Sen’s work has focused on the economics of poverty, famine, and development. Equally important, Amartya Sen was the first person to measure the number of “missing women” in the world. In 1990, using data from the recent world census, he estimated that an astonishing 100 million women were “demographically missing” from the human population, meaning that they had perished abnormally as compared with men. The United Nations Population Fund then took on the task of tracking and monitoring this problem. Presently, they put the number of missing women at 117 million.
Sen pointed out that gender inequality takes several forms. In some instances, it is an outright hostility of mindset that sees women as “a different type of human being.” In others it is “deprivation of women’s effective agency,” attributable to the fact that women lack the freedom to think, the freedom to question, and the freedom to do both of these in an informed, critical, and independent way.
Turning to the subject of women’s empowerment, Professor Sen focused on a trio of solutions — girls’ education, paid employment for women, and maternal/reproductive healthcare. These are measures he suggested decades ago and continues to champion.
The Gendercide Awareness Project is proud to have organized the coalition that engaged Amartya Sen to speak on this subject. Wonderful teamwork with the UT Dallas Asia Center, South Asia Democracy Watch, and the UT Dallas School for Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences turned the dream into a reality.
Amartya Sen’s appearance in Dallas was successful beyond our wildest dreams! Over seven hundred people attended despite a tornado watch! We had a packed hall, two standing ovations, visitors thronging our exhibit, and so much energy and enthusiasm from the attendees! Many people approached us afterward to say they wanted to help or get involved.
Amartya Sen energized us. Working with the our presenting partners, our sponsors, and the nearly 20 university and community organizations who supported us in this endeavor, we plan to leverage this energy and enthusiasm and turn it into action. Professor Sen’s appearance marks only the beginning. To see how the Gendercide Awareness Project is tackling gendercide and women’s empowerment, please read our post below or go to our website. And please follow us on Facebook and Twitter!