Putting the ‘War on Women’ in context

Amber Smith Military Advisor, Concerned Veterans for America
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The shooting of a 14-year-old girl in Pakistan on Tuesday made me reflect on the “War on Women” mantra that’s often used here in America. The girl, a women’s rights activist named Malala Yousufazi, was attacked and shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban.

Yousufazi began a blog three years ago about what it’s like to live amongst the Taliban. She wrote that she feared for her life simply because she was attending school (the Taliban does not believe that women should leave their homes without a male family member, let alone get an education). CNN reports that a Pakistani Taliban spokesperson said after the shooting, “If she survives this time, she won’t next time. We will certainly kill her.” This is where the real war on women lies. This young girl has to live this nightmare every day of her life.

Some American women think their reproductive rights, freedoms, and opportunities are lacking, but I beg to differ. Many of these women have little experience outside of the United States and are naïve as a result. Equal pay, healthcare, and birth control are available to American women. Nobody is taking them away. But women should go out and get these things for themselves, rather than trying to require other people to pay for it.

Ladies, some words of advice: Toughen up. Get some thicker skin. This country provides you with opportunities that women in many other countries could only dream of. Acknowledge that and appreciate what you have been given by being a citizen of this great nation. Use your time and energy to create controversy over something that has some depth, something that will make a difference. Stop whining and work for what you want. Don’t demand that it is given to you. The next time you decide that you are on the receiving end of the War on Women, think about Malala, who is barely clinging to life. She would give anything to have the freedoms and opportunities that you are granted as an American every single day. Something to think about.

Amber Barno is a freelance writer and former U.S. Army helicopter pilot who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. She has a Master of Science in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management. Follow her on Twitter @Amber1816.