Women and the War on Terror

TitleWomen and the War on Terror
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsGerman, Lindsey
JournalFeminist Review
Date Published01/2008

Modern wars are fought against civilians. Whereas at the beginning of the twentieth century, there was around one civilian death to every 10 military deaths, by the end of the century this proportion was the other way round. More than half of all deaths during the Second World War were civilian deaths, around 37 million people. The effects of modern warfare on women have been dramatic. Women are of course a major part of any civilian population, often the majority in wartime. But their role as mothers and carers intensifies during wartime. This article describes the effects of modern warfare on women in the civilian population. The author also offers a critique of the United States' War on Terror as it has impacted women in the various countries in which American policies have played out; she argues that using women as a justification to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, for example, was not only a cover for more imperial-minded strategies driving the invasions, but the ostensible objectives to liberate the oppressed women of Islam has had little effect, and in many cases, has made life worse for most women in those regions. She advocates broadening one's view of freedom for women, which should include the choice to wear a hijab, for example, as well as the choice to not wear one. 

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