Women Likely to Suffer Most in Central Asia’s Turmoil

Linked with Rina Amiri – Afghanistan & USA, with Muslim Women As Symbols and Pawns, with Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan RAWA, and with The Women Waging Peace Network.

Published on Adventure DiVAS, not dated – Excerpts: … Social and economic conditions in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Afghanistan’s northern neighbors, are volatile, as a combination of political repression and economic disarray fuels popular frustration.

Now, U.S. action could potentially upset tenuous stability. For example, a massive influx of refugees could overwhelm the infrastructures of Central Asian states, precipitating social chaos. Or U.S. raids might alienate moderate Muslims in the region, causing a strong backlash against the governments playing host to U.S. forces.

“If conflict occurs in Central Asia, and it causes massive disruption of services and transportation, women and children stand to suffer disproportionately because of the way those societies are set up,” said Roxanna Bonnell, an public health expert at the New York-based Open Society Institute.

“When it comes to access to nutrition during a crisis, we’ve seen studies that show that women and, of course, children suffer more in comparison to men. Men tend to gain first access to nutritional resources and women get whatever is left over.”

… The looming war against Afghanistan, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden heightens the risk of upheaval in Central Asia. But it also provides an opportunity to improve social conditions. However, a prolonged U.S. military presence in Central Asia will likely be required to help foster such improvements. A poorly managed peace could accelerate the downward spiral for Central Asia’s women.

Since the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, women in Central Asia have experienced a drastic decline of living standards, along with a drastic contraction of career opportunities. The decline has occurred against the backdrop of a cultural revival in Central Asia …
(Read the whole long article on ‘Adventure DIVAS‘).

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