Is Bhutto Dead Because She Was a Woman?

Fri, December 28, 2007


Yes, I’m on vacation with my family. Having a nice time relaxing with PunditGirl and Mr. PunditMom.

But how do I not grieve for Benazir Bhutto.

I know there are all sorts of issues surrounding her — circumstances of her family, her political party, her governance of Pakistan during her two terms as prime minister.

She knew that going back to Pakistan after years in exile would be risky and dangerous — a decision that could leave her three children without a mother. But she also knew it was something she had to do for her people.

I can’t help but wondering — if she had been a man, would she still be alive today?

No doubt Musharraf’s people would have done a lot to keep any political challenger away from power. But in a Muslim country, I have to wonder how much animosity there was against Bhutto for the mere reason she was a woman.

There will be much discussion of this tragedy in the coming weeks. But who will take Bhutto’s place?

She tried valiantly to step into the shoes of her executed father in an effort to bring some peace and stability to an unstable country. She tried to follow her father — will her children do the same? And, if not, who will be brave enough to take over for her?

I am not a scholar of Pakistan and its politics. But as a political woman, I can’t keep myself from the news of Bhutto’s demise.

And I can’t keep from wondering which U.S. presidential hopeful is strong enough to determine what the strategy is to keep that region from imploding on itself.

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17 Responses to “Is Bhutto Dead Because She Was a Woman?”

  1. jen Says:

    i know, sister. i know.

  2. Motherhood Uncensored Says:

    She’s the first strong female (if not ONLY) leader that I remember from my childhood.

    Her death bothers me on so many levels.

  3. Paige Says:

    I think she’s dead mostly because she was the biggest threat to Musharraf. Her father was assassinated in the same town and I believe her brother was killed too.

  4. impromptublogger Says:

    Her father wasn’t assassinated, but was held for a couple of years before being hung. But assassinations are common in the Middle East – think of Gandhi (both Mahatma and Indira), Anwar Sadat, etc. While being a woman added an extra element of danger it was certainly not the only reason.

  5. Mixter Says:

    Is Bhutto Dead Because She Was a Woman? No. She’s dead because of the goings on in Pakistan. Her fate would have been the same if she was a man.


  6. Julie Pippert Says:

    I certainly think it was a factor.

    All in all tragic.

    Using My Words

  7. Kelly Says:


  8. redmaryjanes Says:

    I’m not a political woman. I have come to your blog via a post on another blog I frequent. I am very saddened by her death though. I do believe that her being a female leader probably lead to a higher level of animosity. I think that she most likely would have died if she had been a man due to the fact that the position she held was a threat to other belief systems in her country.

  9. Selfmademom Says:

    The thing that most confounds me is that a radical, unstable muslim country could have at least ELECTED a WOMAN prime minister, while, we, who claim to be the largest free democracy in the world hasn’t even come close. Her death was tragic on so many levels, but hopefully her martyrdom will allow others here in the US see just how strong and wonderful a woman leader can be (and that’s not necessarily an endorsement for Hillary either).

  10. Mauigirl Says:

    Selfmademom, that is something that amazes me as well. India, Pakistan, Ireland…all countries that have not historically treated women as equals – all of these countries have elected women as leaders. But not the U.S. We are truly much less enlightened than we think we are.

    I was very saddened by Bhutto’s assassination. She was intelligent, a real leader – and also very beautiful. I was really struck by her beauty, not that that matters. She will be greatly missed and I fear for the future of Pakistan without her.

  11. Paige Says:

    Impromptu — My bad. I meant killed…but even so. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bhutto’s son and husband are targeted next.

  12. Queen of the Mayhem Says:

    Her loss is tremendous…both for her family, and the citizens of Pakistan!

  13. Alex Elliot Says:

    I have to agree with Selfmademom’s comment. I nominated you for an award.

  14. Phyllis Sommer Says:

    bravo to you for asking the question. i have been surprised at how little conversation there’s been about this very question. was she killed for being a woman? probably not — i think she was killed because there were so many who didn’t like her policies/beliefs — but were they more likely to dislike those beliefs because she was a woman? maybe…probably! i think it’s a vicious circle…

    let me ask you this: you said “a decision that would leave her three children without a mother.” would anyone ever write anything like that about a male leader? i’m not sure.

  15. BOSSY Says:

    (Bossy sighs) Happy New Year, though, friend.

  16. Gunfighter Says:

    I don’t believe that Bhutto was killed because of her gender. I think that no matter who the main opposition to Musharraf was, would have gotten whacked.

    Regarding those nations that have elected female leaders (and you left out Kim Campbell, of Canada), we have to take not e that all of the nations listed have parliamentary styles of government, wherein the party gets elected to form a government, and the party leader becomes the head of said government. Americans haven’t elected a female President (and won’t in 2008, either) because it works differently here.

  17. Gannex Says:

    She was killed because she represented a challenge to the jihadists, the Islamic extremists who believe the only way to a just and proper world is to revert to the Islamic practices of hundreds of years ago. One of those practices, of course, was for women to stay entirely away from matters of state, and in that sense Benazir Bhutto’s gender was a crucial part of her challenge, and therefore a crucial factor in her assassination.

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