Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
Barely had President Barack Obama outlined a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan meant to narrow the focus to eliminating the threat from al Qaeda and its Islamist allies, before the U.S.-led campaign ran into what was always going to be one of its biggest problems in limiting its goals. What does it do about the rights of women in the region?
The treatment of women has dominated the headlines this week after Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a new law for the minority Shi'ite population which both the United States and the United Nations said could undermine women's rights. Karzai has promised a review of the law, while also complaining it was misinterpreted by Western journalists.
In Pakistan, video footage has been circulated of Taliban militants flogging a teenage girl in the Swat valley, where the government concluded a peace deal with the Taliban in February. The graphic and disturbing video, which has been posted on YouTube, has outraged many Pakistanis and the flogging was condemned by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani as shameful. There have been contradictory reports of exactly when and why the girl was punished, although Dawn newspaper quoted a witness as saying she was flogged two weeks ago for refusing a marriage proposal.
But where do women's rights fit into the new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan?
Siemens’ announcement this week that it has appointed a woman to its management board has generated a loud hullabaloo in the media, with newspapers trumpeting “the womanless age at Siemens is over” and “Barbara Kux, the strong woman at Siemens.”
But how was the news of a woman’s appointment to a senior executive position deserving of a celebratory press release and the ensuing excitement? Surely in an era of equal opportunities in developed countries, such news should be commonplace.