March 7, 2014 – Sarah Weiner
One morning, while getting ready for work—at a leisurely, “island” pace that law school no longer affords—Vai Leka showed up on my doorstep wanting to go with me. My two-year-old neighbor was going through a stage of stealing her father’s shoes, and the photo I snapped of her, pencils in tow, ready for work, is one of my favorites from the two years I spent in Tonga as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Having researched women’s rights in developing countries during college, I arrived in Tonga keenly aware of its gender inequalities. However, as I settled in to my village, I of course realized that I knew little about the way men and women actually interacted in day-to-day life in the small archipelago. Women actively participated in town meetings, ran stores, and trekked into the capital for their coveted government jobs. Furthermore, my conversations with them revealed that the women in my village wanted the same thing as the men: a way to support their families and opportunities for their children to do the same.
One theme of Professor David Kennedy’s course at Harvard on Law and Economic Development is that development is about making hard choices—prioritizing certain … Read More »