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"Crude Awakening: Why Oil is a Feminist Issue" -- Ms. Magazine cover story reveals how US war policies sell out women in favor of Big Oil

Washington, DC – With the Iraq war still raging, threats of U.S. action against Iran mounting, the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan , and gas prices climbing in the U.S. , Ms . magazine's cover story explores why Big Oil has become a feminist issue.

Martha Burk , author of Cult of Power: Sex Discrimination in Corporate America and What Can Be Done About It , examines how U.S. war policies sell out women in favor of oil interests: "Whether supporting gender apartheid abroad, or sacrificing feeding programs for U.S. women and children so that ExxonMobil can get a tax break, or simply standing by while the company reaps record profits at the expense of women who must drive to work and heat their houses, U.S. priorities are consistent: Oil wins over women's rights hands down."

Burk explores how oil was a major factor in the decision for the U.S. to invade Iraq , and how the U.S. ignored Iraqi women's organizations demands for laws codifying women's rights to work, equal pay, pregnancy leave and child care (all guaranteed in Iraq 's previous constitution). In contrast, the new constitution protects private oil companies.

In Saudi Arabia, Burk points out, the U.S. turns a blind eye to the repression of women (including those in the U.S. military) in order to maintain a sweet deal for Saudi oil. And in Afghanistan , the U.S. government was willing to sacrifice women and girls to the Taliban's horrific gender apartheid regime in order to secure pipeline rights for American oil company UNOCAL (now part of Chevron).

Now, the U.S. has rattled its sabers at Iran , site of the second-largest pool of untapped oil in the world. "Although the ostensible reason for a U.S.-led invasion [would] be weapons of mass destruction, the politics of oil are peeking out from behind the WMD curtain," Burk writes.

Noted pollster Celinda Lake reports on the new Ms . Poll showing that women are far more likely than men to want the U.S. to withdraw troops from Iraq immediately or within the year, and are more opposed to U.S. unilateral military action against Iran . Lake examines how women's attitudes toward President Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq led the way to the sea change in American public opinion.

The cover package also features an exclusive by author Linda Burstyn : "The Peacemongers: Can Nobel Laureates Help Stop a War?" Five women Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including Jody Williams of the U.S. and Shirin Ebadi of Iran , have called for a nonviolent resolution to the current U.S./Iran standoff.

Ms. executive editor Katherine Spillar and author Martha Burk are available for press interviews. Celinda Lake, Sima Wali of Refugee Women in Development and an expert on the situation for women and girls in Afghanistan, and Dr. Homa Mahmoudi of Transcultural Communications Center and an expert in women's rights in Iran and the Middle East, are also available for interviews.


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Copyright Ms. Magazine 2009