I’m a bit late getting to this story, but Bill Easterly has a thoughtful post up on his Aid Watch blog in which he calls into question a completely accepted reality of the western aid community: It is justified for “white men [to] offer themselves as saviors of African women.”
Now, I’m not out to launch an attack on the while male diplomats working to end atrocities in eastern Congo or white male aid workers working on gender-based violence programs in Liberia; I don’t think that’s Easterly’s goal either. Instead, Easterly rightly calls for “white men who run aid agencies or offer themselves as advocates for African women to think through some hard questions” about the utility of outside intervention to improve the status of women in Africa, and about the credibility of western men urging gender equality in Africa when “we don’t have it at home.”
Bravo, Professor Easterly. These are questions that all of us—men and women—would be wise to consider.
Andrew Sweet contributed to this post.