Whereas politicians most of the time ignore that women’s rights are part of human rights, they are often referring to seeking public acceptance. What has often been ignored by the west can suddenly move to centre stage.
Major Powers use empathy to justify military intervention to the public, but the use of empathy regarding your own interest is simply hypocrisy. Respect for human rights, and in this case for women’s rights, is used by the politicians and media to make war as we saw recently 10 years ago in Afghanistan.
The question of women is visible and a fundamental aspect of society, so it is easy to draw the attention to. How can the enemy be more hated in the west? With the status of woman.
It remains important to point out the status of women, the sexual and other kind of violence. However, it is a serious problem which has to be treated with all-inclusive responses, and not be used to justify any military actions. War against terrorism becomes suddenly a war for human rights, and part of it a war for women’s rights.
In other words, it would be possible to justify military intervention regarding the violation of women’s rights, but only if you actually do care about their protection, and if you do have a plan to respect them, to make it better, and to apply UN resolutions, such as 1325.
I even wonder how it could come to one’s mind that a military intervention is going to ameliorate the situation of women, while rape is often used as a war crime. Gender inequality is not something you can change with a military intervention; gender inequality is rooted in traditional social cultures and beliefs. You fight to free women, but many researches on the impact of conflict on women conclude that women are the primary victims. In modern conflicts almost 90% of casualties are civilians, most of whom are women and children (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 1999, SIPRI, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 2)
Moreover, as a result of a military intervention, we have seen that in Afghanistan, anti-west sentiments led to a conscious reaffirmation of the burqa; the same burqa that was used by the west to justify that women are not free.