The sleep of reason ... is a female nightmare

February 2, 1996

* There are 44 million "missing women" in China alone, 36.9 million in India.

* In India the "missing women" comprise 9.5 per cent of the number of actual women, in Pakistan 12.9 per cent * When only some children can go to school, it is frequently the girls who are kept at home. In South Asia, female literacy rates average around half that of males. In Afghanistan the ratio is 32 per cent, in Sudan per cent * The UN Human Development Report for 1995 reports that one-third of women in Barbados, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and the United States report sexual abuse during childhood.

* Each year, an estimated million children (mostly girls in Asia) are forced into prostitution, often with the connivance of their families. An estimated 100 million girls each year suffer genital mutilation.

* In Colombia during 1982 and 1983, the Forensic Institute of Bogota found that of 1,170 cases of bodily injury, one in five was due to conjugal violence and 94 per cent of those hospitalised were battered women.

* More than 50 per cent of married women in the largest slum of Bangkok reported being regularly beaten by their husbands.

* In the maternity hospital of Lima, Peru, 90 per cent of all young mothers under 16 have been raped by their father, stepfather, or another close relative.

* In Costa Rica, an agency working with young mothers reports that 95 per cent of their pregnant clients under 15 are victims of incest.

* US data show that 29 per cent of female rape victims are age ten and under, 62 per cent age 15 and under.

"The Feminist Critique of Liberalism" by Martha Nussbaum. To be delivered as a lecture in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford at 6pm on February 2 1996 as part of the Oxford Amnesty Lectures Series Women's Voices, Women's Rights. Edited extract published by arrangement with the trustees of the Oxford Amnesty Lectures and Basic Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

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