Hey, Guys, Give Women a Chance to Fix Afghanistan

Op-ed: With Karzai in charge, don't hold your breath
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2011 5:18 PM CST
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, meets local leaders in Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Jan. 2.   (AP Photo/ Abdul Khaleq, File)

(Newser) – When Hamid Karzai named a council to negotiate with the Taliban, it had 60 members, and not one of them was female. No big surprise given Karzai's "ultraconservative, misogynist" ways, writes aid worker Ann Jones in the Los Angeles Times. He's been a disaster for women's rights in general, and the US doesn't seem to care. She's been pushing "American big men" for years to heed the UN's advice about getting more women involved in peace negotiations, only to be met with condescending explanations about "cultural relativism" and the need to respect "traditional" cultures, she writes.

It's all chauvinistic hogwash. "I don't expect men in power to take seriously the Security Council's proposition that the involvement of women in negotiations makes for a better and more lasting peace," she writes. "Progressive, peaceable men would prefer to live in a peace created by women and men together. But too many big men, in both Afghanistan and the US, are doing very nicely, thank you, with the traditional arrangements of their country and ours."

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