From David Rothkopf:
Each year, the World Economic Forum produces a Global Gender Gap report. In 2013, it tracked 136 countries on the education, economic empowerment, health, and political empowerment of women. Consider the world’s hot spots for extremism. Some, like Somalia, Libya, and Afghanistan, don’t even make the list. But of those that do, Nigeria ranks 106, Bahrain is 112, Qatar is 115, Kuwait is 116, Jordan is 119, Turkey is 120, Algeria is 124, Egypt is 125, Saudi Arabia is 127, Mali is 128, Morocco is 129, Iran is 130, Syria is 133, Pakistan is 135, and Yemen is dead last at 136……
Not only do countries that treat women badly do badly economically, politically, and socially, but countries in which extremist ideologies have taken root frequently treat women worst of all. In each case they have twisted their religious and cultural inheritances to promote practices that are abhorrent and indefensible, or they simply fail to recognize the rights or the promise of the women and girls among them. This has been taken to extraordinary extremes by groups like the Islamic State. In its slickly produced online English-language magazine, Dabiq, the group defends its enslavement of Yazidi girls and women and the taking of them as concubines by arguing that the practice is a “firmly established aspect of the Sharia.”
I have no doubt that extremism fosters the ill-treatment of women. The more vexing question is: what fosters extremism? Poverty, politics or religion? Fareed Zakaria suggests that the common denominator is religion.
Read more at How Malala Can Help Defeat the Islamic State.