By Debbie Brown
La Chureca, Nicaragua, is a grim place,my teenaged daughter was telling us, a shanty town where women and children scavenge for usable items at the city dump. Her description of the place—the sweltering heat, stinking trash, and bone-thin feral dogs—poured from fresh memories of the mission trip she had just finished.
In the cool of our air-conditioned car, on the way to our middle-class home, the contrast could not be clearer: my daughter lived in the land of opportunity while the children of La Chureca were trapped in the fetid confines of life on a landfill. Sarah would leave soon for her first year at college with dreams of education, career, and family in store for her life ahead. The girls she met in La Chureca could only dream of the next meal.
Travel is an eye-opener. Compared to so many places around the world, young women in America have enormous opportunity and can determine the course of their lives. Living in a free-market society means that those who work hard can better their lives in ways unimaginable to women in other countries.
Women in this country can go to college and, in fact, they attain more degrees than men. Women can choose any profession and start their own businesses. They can work inside the home, outside the home, or do both. Free enterprise in America is the great equalizer between men and women.
In contrast, where governments make it difficult to start or grow a business because of corruption, overregulation, high taxes, or cronyism, women have significantly less opportunity to find a good job or to start a business themselves. They have less disposable income to pursue their dreams of education,starting a family, or making a better life. In many parts of the world, women are victims of corrupt and overbearing governments. Their lives are not their own. However, to hearthe politicians or special interests talk about women in America,you would think the opposite were true.