Thursday, October 21, 2010

Women Pay Huge Price for Iraqi War

The Iraqis are paying a huge price in lost lives for the war, but there's a hidden cost that has largely been unnoticed. Its the price young Iraqi women are paying: there are no men to marry.

If this happened in America, it would be sad, but women could find fulfilling lives. Women in America aren't judged just by who they can marry or even whether they marry. Women in America can choose to marry or not. Either way, they have opportunities. They can become artists, work in the trades, become corporate executives, work in the service industry and many more. They lead productive, meaningful, happy lives, married or not.

Not Iraqi women. If a woman isn't married by her early twenties, she's considered a poor choice. If she's not married by age thirty, she will probably never be married. And in Iraq, there are very few employment opportunities. Many women were denied educations and aren't qualified for many jobs. On top of that, a heavily sexist culture blocks any real opportunities these women might have.

The AP story about Iraqi women goes into much more detail, and I encourage everyone to read it. The patriotic flag-waving pro-war crowd that got us into the Iraq mess talk about democracy and voting, but they conveniently forget all of the damage that wars cause. Sure, everyone admits that soldiers and civilians die, but these hidden tragedies are in some ways even worse. For every person who dies, there are ten others whose lives are forever damaged, sometimes destroyed.

1 comment:

  1. I actually think this is a great opportunity for Iraqi women to change their culture, much as WWII was a great opportunity for American women to change theirs. Where formerly Iraqi women proved their worth by marriage and children, now they have little choice but to do so in other areas. It may not be an easy task for an Iraqi woman to break through the religious and social restrictions that are placed upon them, but in the end when their families are hungry or dying, most people choose to do whatever they can to improve their lot. So if the society is downtrodden due to the diminishing number of men, that leaves a vacuum that can be readily occupied by women. This, in turn, changes the cultural dynamic of a woman's role, however minutely. Real change happens in innumerably small increments.


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