Why We Need Women in War Zones

An excellent article here dealing with Lara Logan’s sexual assault in Egypt.
Women can cover the fighting just as well as men, depending on their courage.

More important, they also do a pretty good job of covering what it’s like to live in a war, not just die in one. Without female correspondents in war zones, the experiences of women there may be only a rumor.

Look at the articles about women who set themselves on fire in Afghanistan to protest their arranged marriages, or about girls being maimed by fundamentalists, about child marriage in India, about rape in Congo and Haiti. Female journalists often tell those stories in the most compelling ways, because abused women are sometimes more comfortable talking to them. And those stories are at least as important as accounts of battles.

There is an added benefit. Ms. Logan is a minor celebrity, one of the highest-profile women to acknowledge being sexually assaulted. Although she has reported from the front lines, the lesson she is now giving young women is probably her most profound: It’s not your fault. And there’s no shame in telling it like it is.

(Thanks, David!)

12 thoughts on “Why We Need Women in War Zones

  1. I read this on the NY times website.. and her only argument is that we would lose the female prospective… Women have no place in war, unless they join up and take a support position, then i would argue they have an equal or greater right than any man to be there. What i’m trying to say is what a dumb article, she goes on and on how women get raped and groped. Its just the way it is over there, you are a less person not worthy of rights. Join the fight and change things for the poor women who live there. But don’t pretend a women has a place reporting because we will lose her perspective. In the middle east you are not a person and have no perspective… just my take (and i really wanted to say it) :)

  2. Many reasons to disagree with the comment above. Do men “have no place in war, unless they join up and take a support position”? Is it only appropriate for men “to be there” in a war zone if they “join up and take a support position”? Does every news reporter need to be an official part of the military? Does every human rights group/worker on the ground need first to “join up and take a support position” in order to have a “right” “to be there”? Do all sorts of humanitarian, aid, disaster, and relief workers (such as medical personnel, for instance) need to be a part of the military in order to be in a war zone? How many double standards can we find in this comment, at least as it is written? How many problems can we find in those standards? Diversity is so important in so many contexts precisely because of both the different and important perspectives that diversity brings, and what those perspectives provide/allow. Let us deeply appreciate Lara Logan, her courage, and others like her.

  3. You completely missed the point completely, but before that. You kinda proved my point didn’t you? Aid, humanitarians, reports ect. are all support positions are they not? so they did join up in support position and have every right to be there…… just by that fact alone your whole post is kinda backwards and wrong… as backwards and wrong as you try to make my opinion look.

    but thats besides the fact, i think what i was really trying to get at was are you really, as a women, going to one of those countrys… unarmed.. not part of a military force… and really execpt not to get raped ……tortured… groped all kind of things….
    Women have no business over there. unless they are locked and loaded is what i really said.
    Men own you as soon as you cross the boarder and don’t complain when they do what they want with their property.
    Its just how it is and thank God we are there trying to change things

    (i wont post again but I’ll be back to read… :D )

  4. My apologies for (misunderstanding and) misrepresenting your views, Andrew.

    Many experienced, local social activists in many parts of the world who know the history of US/UK involvement say that the last thing they need is “we [being] there to change things”. Many of them in many cases say that the most important thing that they need is for the US/UK to stop, for instance, giving money to corrupt dictators, giving loans to corrupt dictators, giving weapons to corrupt dictators, and doing business with corrupt dictators (or autocratic / authoritarian governments and other corrupt leaders) year after year.

    Although the details/contexts matter greatly, in a large and important number of cases the least effective way to promote democratic and/or socialist/populist reforms is through the use of violence, weapons, and military intervention.

    Women can pull triggers, push buttons, and give orders to do such things as well as men. Fortunately, certain feminists have carefully shown how certain experiences and backgrounds (such as the very subtle and sophisticated skills of raising and parenting children, or providing certain kinds of care, though there are many other relevant experiences and backgrounds) require and foster the development of abilities to handle conflicts and improve social situations in ways that do not involve violence or the use of weapons.

    In many cases, people have both moral and strategic reasons to seek peaceful forms of protest, resistance activities, and civil disobedience. Tragically, some situations are so bad that these approaches do not best achieve various social/moral goals. Fortunately, recent events in Egypt do not fall under this category. What we need in so many places including Egypt are ordinary, mostly unknown, moral heroes with moral courage to work together – alongside one another often despite many differences – to keep peacefully organizing while calling for various social changes.

    Let me suggest if not urge interested readers to check out, for instance:

    An Interview With Nawal El Saadawi


    Leading Egyptian Feminist, Nawal El Saadawi: “Women and Girls are Beside Boys in the Streets”
    Nawal El Saadawi on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman

    and for one more:

    Egypt’s face of courage

    If anyone is interested, I collect some relevant links and comments here:

  5. Humbling honor to receive award, share evening with Lara Logan


    Unfortunately, this news story does not mention that first a group of Egyptian women, then some men, and then soldiers (in that order) stopped the horrible crime against Logan on 2/11/11 in Tahir Square (see page 3 at the link below).


  6. Lara Logan’s Pick [of one of her favorite pieces which was also one of her most dangerous assignments]: A Relentless Enemy

    “The rockets started hitting the military base almost as soon as Lara Logan arrived. Lara was in Afghanistan in 2010 to report on the brutal fighting on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan…
    That day, Lara and producers Max McClellan and Jeff Newton were with the 101st Airborne Division at their base just inside Afghanistan, and the fighting they saw was more brutal than anything they’d seen in a decade of covering that war.”


    Interested readers might note the relevance and importance of the kind of news story linked in comment 9 above to matters such as the village visit covered in this news piece.

  7. America’s Real Favorite Pastime? Judging Women

    After the mob attack on Lara Logan, many commenters claimed she was partly to blame. Recalling her own experiences with sexual violence and public criticism, Deborah Copaken Kogan dissects the judgment game


    In my narrow minded way, I normally do not read and would not link to websites such as more[dot]com, though this piece seems worth it. Readers with different and/or relevant views, please share…

    Journalism’s Feminine Touch


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