Kurdish Soldiers: Where's the Burkha?
Bleak times afford opportunities that otherwise may not have been possible. World War II gave American women access to jobs and professional options outside the home. With men fighting in the Pacific and Europe women provided an untapped resource working in factories and serving in the military to support the war. Victory would not have possible without their efforts. Since then they have never looked back, continuing to make progress to gain parity in society. ISIS and its medieval minded leaders may give Kurdish women a similar chance in a region of the world with strong links to the past.
Rosey the Riveter
In the long term no modern country can compete on the world stage when it denies women equal opportunity. With talent evenly distributed between the sexes, religious and cultural strictures consigning millions of intelligent women to be subservient to stupid men is an enormous waste of resources. No where is this scenario more graphic than in the Middle East, where sectarian machismo mires the region in incessant conflict at the hands of corrupt, despotic rulers.
Kurds are ethnically and culturally different than Turks and Arabs. Living in Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey, they number 35 million, making them the largest minority in the world without a sovereign nation. They have been steadfast allies of the United States, despite our nonsensical insistence they remain part of Iraq.
Kurds tend to be more secular than their neighbors, and women enjoy relatively more freedom than women in other parts of the Middle East, including our self serving Saudi allies. Kurdish women have a great deal to lose if ISIS subjugates the Levant. They would be compelled to live under Sharia Law, forfeiting all rights as human beings. They fight along side men in combat, a condition rarely found in any part of the world. It is rumored ISIS fears fighting women soldiers, for to die at the hands of a woman in combat denies them the death of a martyr and pleasures awaiting them in Paradise.
If Kurdistan become an independent country and the ISIS threat stopped, much of the credit will go to Kurdish women, who like their American female counterparts in WWII, made enormous sacrifices to stop a deadly menace that threatened civilized life.
Much to Lose and Much to Gain