Gender Gap on Troop Withdrawal from Iraq

Contact: Andrea Buffa 510-325-3653
Medea Benjamin 415-235-6517

January 6th, 2006

62% of American women believe the troops should come home by the end of 2006

According to the most recent Gallup poll on Iraq, more women than men believe the U.S. should bring the troops home from Iraq within one year. 62% of all women polled said the U.S. troops should be brought home from Iraq before December 2006, compared to 53 percent of men: a significant nine-point difference. The poll was conducted by Gallup from December 16-18, 2005; the gender breakdown was made public today by CODEPINK, a national women's peace group.
 
“Women understand that keeping the U.S. troops in Iraq is only perpetuating the cycle of violence there and resulting in more casualties for Iraqi civilians and US troops. Three years is enough time to show that war isn't working – it's time to try another approach,” said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and the human rights group Global Exchange.
 
A similar gender gap existed before the US invaded Iraq in March 2003, when women said they favored diplomacy and international cooperation over the prospect of a unilateral war.  A February 2003 New York Times/CBS poll revealed that 12 percent more women than men supported a diplomatic solution with Iraq. A month later, a Zogby International poll showed that while 45 percent of men said they would strongly support a war against Iraq, only 21 percent of women did.
 
To give voice to women's desire to end the Iraq war, women from around the world launched a new campaign on Thursday, January 5 aimed at ending the war and all attacks on Iraqi civilians in 2006. As a first step, the Women Say No to War Campaign will gather some 100,000 signatures by March 8, International Women's Day, when US and Iraqi women will deliver the signatures to leaders in Washington, DC and women around the world will deliver them to US embassies.
 
Women Say No to War is the first campaign that brings women together across borders to demand an end to the bloodshed in Iraq. 200 high-profile women have already endorsed the campaign, including Gold Star mothers Cindy Sheehan of the US and Rose Gentle of Scotland; Actors/Performers Susan Sarandon, Eve Ensler, and Margaret Cho; Authors Alice Walker, Anne Lamott, Maxine Hong Kingston and Barbara Ehrenreich; and Congresswomen Barbara Lee, Cynthia McKinney and Lynn Woolsey of the US, Libby Davies of Canada, and Caroline Lucas of the UK. Iraqi women endorsers include Yanar Mohammed of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq and Hana Ibrahim of Iraqi Women's Will.
 
“Iraqi women are devastated now, and it will take us decades of struggle to regain a peaceful and civilized life,” said Yanar Mohammed. “The US occupation has planted seeds of ethno-sectarian division, preparing Iraq for a civil war, and has blessed religious supremacy over and against human and women's rights.”
 
The majority of people in the US, the UK and around the world oppose the Iraq war, which has thus far cost the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis (estimates range from 27,736 to 100,000); 2,182 US troops; 98 UK troops; and hundreds of humanitarian workers. Eighty-two percent of Iraqis have also declared that they are “strongly opposed” to the presence of coalition troops in their country. As the three-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaches, the country is still wracked by violence, Iraqi civilians are suffering from a lack of basic services, including electricity and clean water, and women's rights are under attack.
 
To read the full text of the Women Say No to War call for peace and to view a list of the initial signatories, see http://www.womensaynotowar.org