When more and more publicity and outrage about the evident anachronistic racism of apartheid in South Africa spread round the world, one nation after another joined in subjecting SA to economic sanctions. Much pressure was put on South Africa. That contributed, muchly, along with the efforts of people like Mandela, in ending apartheid. So why is it okay if women in far larger places, in many many places in the world, are kept in a kind of gender apartheid?

We are outraged, and the President, if asked, would denounce the recent stoning death of a pregnant Pakistani woman by her own family, her father and brother, because she married a man of her own choosing–but where are the economic sanctions against Pakistan, a country which allows these murderers to walk free? They stoned her to death with bricks. Pakistani law allows the murder if the woman’s family says it’s okay. So why isn’t that at least as bad as apartheid?

Honor killings–or little girls sold into marriage at age nine, ten, eleven, twelve. Little girls dying in childbirth or having nightmarish cases of fistula because they were raped by the old men they were sold to…common in many Muslim countries…Why isn’t there an international effort, with economic sanctions, to force these countries to change their laws? Why is the plight of women less than the plight of people in racial categories?


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