Women Around the World: Afghanistan

by Elizabeth on May 19, 2010 · 1 comment


NPR (National Public Radio) did a special report this morning on Afghan women.  The Taliban was in control of this country from 1997-2001 until the United States decided it was time to intervene in 2001; we still have troops present there today.

Islam is a religion that has been easily misunderstood and speculated about in the news. Many people don’t understand Islam and often picture it as a threat. It is also widely and wrongfully assumed that all types of Islam are extremely suppressive to women.

According to an essay by M.D. Nalapat on Afghanistan Online:

“All that the Koran enjoins is that women ‘should lower theirgaze andguard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments what [must ordinarily] appear thereof; that they should draw their veils overtheirbosoms and not display their beauty’ to males, except to certain categories of close relatives.”

When the Taliban was in control of the country during that time, they took a position that was extremely oppressive towards women.

“They were forbidden to work, leave the house without a male escort, notallowed to seek medical help from a male doctor, and forced to cover themselves from head to toe, even covering their eyes. Women who weredoctors and teachers before, suddenly were forced to be beggars andeven prostitutes in order to feed their families.”

Even though the Taliban isn’t in control of the country anymore, NPR reported that many women who have their own businesses or those that are trying to be independent are some of the prime targets of terror attacks in the country. Afghanistan has tried to raise the status of women and recognize them as equal citizens. In their constitution it states, 


“The citizens of Afghanistan – whether man or woman – have equal rights and duties before the law.”

Despite their legislative action to try to improve conditions for women in the country, the enforcement for their safety, protection, and future growth hasn’t been enough to help them succeed and flourish.

Here are some horrific facts about life for Afghan women:

  • Every 30 minutes, an Afghan woman dies during childbirth
  • 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate
  • 30 percent of girls have access to education in Afghanistan
  • 1 in every 3 Afghan women experience physical, psychological or sexual violence
  • 44 years is the average life expectancy rate for women in Afghanistan
  • 70 to 80 percent of women face forced marriages in Afghanistan

It is important not only to recognize the struggles of women within our own country but to be aware of issues of gender in other countries as well. As I explore the status of women in different countries, I hope we all become more aware of what they are going through and how we can learn from them.

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Kumari December 3, 2015 at 9:05 pm

On this side we believe in human rgthis, women’s rgthis, freedom, justice, democracy. From that side, they are fundamentally against these values”No. On “That Side”,they believe in God,they call Him Allah. Allahu Akhbar! There’s a battle cry that men will die for,”God Is Great”! try,”human rgthis,women’s rgthis,gay rgthis,secularism” for a war cry, just doesn’t inspire,and it just doesn’t work.When we,the Allies first decided to set foot in Afghanistan,I knew it would end up this way,not because I’m a genius,but because I recognize what we have become.We,the West,the civilized first world, have become decadent,lazy,fearful unbelievers,and faced with a determined foe who DOES believe in something other than politically correct sound bites,we must always lose.It’s the nature of war,and we aren’t prepared spiritually or psychologically,to fight a war. We can only posture and expound on our high ideals,which the Taliban and MB,Al-Qaeda,etc., see for the sophistry it is.We should have hit Afghanistan hard,blown the hell out of the place,and left it a smouldering ruin,then gone home. By so doing,we’d still have the myth of might, of extreme power,and MAYBE,the enemy would fear us for a while.But,when we stayed, our weaknesses became more apparent every day,and the enemy knows all he has to do is WAIT,bide his time,and we’ll collapse and go home with our tail hanging low,just like we have so many times in the last forty years.The West,led by the U.S.,is like ancient Rome, we still look good on paper,but we haven’t the morale or the conviction to win a war any more.We are no longer the people that distinguished themselves at the Somme,Vimy Ridge,Guadalcanal,Normandy,we’re the grandchildren of those people,and we simply don’t have the belief,in ourselves or anything else,to stay on the top.Good article by Glavin,he ends it rather bitterly,perhaps recognizing,at last,that our leaders have feet of clay.

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