So proclaims the cover of the latest issue of Ms., touting an article by Martha Burk: “Crude Awakening: U.S. Policies in Afghanistan and Iraq Sell Out Women in Favor of Oil.” Alas, there’s only a teaser online, not the full article.
Whether supporting gender apartheid abroad, or sacrificing feeding programs for U.S. women and children so that ExxonMobil can get a tax break, or simply standing by while the company reaps record profits at the expense of women who must drive to work and heat their houses, U.S. priorities are consistent: Oil wins over women’s rights hands down.
Appropriately, Burk focuses most of her attention abroad — from pre-9/11 Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, where the Clinton admin overlooked gross abuses of women’s rights as it tried to grease the wheels for a Unocal pipeline, to oppressive Saudi Arabia, to increasingly woman-unfriendly Iraq, back to present-day Afghanistan, where things are looking nearly as grim for women and girls as they did when the Taliban reigned. (The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission reports that more than 300 girls’ schools have been burned or bombed in the country in recent years, Burk writes.)
Burk doesn’t touch on any traditionally “environmental” threads in the piece, but it’s an interesting, if cursory, look at how oil politics and gender politics collide.