Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, October 06, 2006

Women's equality in Afghanistan is more than a political issue

Afghanistan is a prime example of how political and legal change does not immediately translate into transformations in the entrenched social and cultural structures that govern women’s daily lives. In post-Taliban Afghanistan women are stipulated by law to enjoy equal rights and opportunities with men. Girls’ education levels are improving and women are rejoining the workforce. A quarter of parliamentarians are women, and the government has implemented special programs to encourage women’s economic participation. However, enduring cultural restrictions that marginalize women’s role in society impede their full enjoyment of these new freedoms. Women who challenge social and cultural norms by taking part in political and economic affairs are often met with scorn, or otherwise they find themselves without the support and cooperation of their colleagues, who are often men.
It is evident that it will take more than just changing the text of the Constitution to alter the conservative Islamic culture, which keeps Afghan women in an inferior position to men. However, pressures for change are coming from women themselves, who are standing up and asking for their rights. Many of these are formerly exiled women, who experienced the relatively more liberated cultures of Pakistan and Iran, are reluctant to give up the freedoms they previously enjoyed now that they are in their own country.
Change has come slowly, and it may be another generation before the expansion of women’s rights takes hold in Afghan society, but positive steps are being taken towards this end.

For full article, click here.


Post a Comment

<< Home