The Importance of Culture

Yesterday, in response to a story in the NY Times, entitled “Sudan Court Fines Woman for Wearing Trousers,” Andy Revkin posted this meta thought at Dot Earth about the future of women in the developing world and how that ties into humanity’s prospects for sustainability:

In a broader sense, then, there appears to be simmering tension over “who wears the pants.” How that gets worked out probably will help determine whether there is a relatively smooth journey toward more or less 9 billion people on a finite planet in the next few decades.

An astute Dot Earth reader offers an excellent anecdote about women in Saudi Arabia. It speaks to the importance of culture in all this. (Savage Minds: where are you? You’re missing a golden opportunity.) Here’s the kicker from the comment (which should be read in full):

So changing a cultural or religious taboo is not something outsiders can impose upon a society without fierce resistance. The change, if it comes at all, must come from within, and the pioneers will pay a painful price.

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