Role of women in Afghanistan has faced cordial changes during the history. It’s not a secret that Afghanistan belongs to those countries where gender equality still remains a distant dream. Almost three decades of war influenced Afghanistan a lot. Once emerging country turned into ruins, and this is not the whole: the approaches towards the role of women in Afghanistan changed as well.
Though it’s almost 20 years the war has ended, and Afghanistan was set free from Taliban powers, the shocking majority of women still becomes the victims of unfair treatment.
The harassment towards women has become a daily routine for many men. The discrimination Afghan women face every day sometimes gets unbearable.
The shocking majority of women are illiterate as the education of women in the country is not considered necessary. However, the picture was not the same in comparison with the past.
Women were taken as equals once and then broke the war and chaos. Know about the role of women in Afghanistan, the history of gender roles in the country. Afghan women definitely need special attention and empowerment from the world.
The History of the Role of Women in Afghanistan
The role of women in Afghanistan has always been something controversial and frequently debated. After the establishment as an independent nation in 1919, Afghanistan was under the rule of King Amanullah’s monarchy.
The king opposed against the discrimination between men and women and strived to give women more freedom. He established some laws according to too which women didn’t have to cover their faces in some public places. He was also the first to establish the girl’s schools.
In 1920 King Amanullah ended the slavery which brought freedom to many women.
After the fall of the king, a new constitution was written in 1931. According to that constitution, all people were considered equal. However, the law didn’t bring gender equality with itself. Afghanistan still remained a country where women were definitely considered inferior to men.
After the rule of the King Amanullah, a new king Habibullah took the power. During his reign, the role of women in Afghanistan was rudely despised. The girl’s schools were closed again.
After Habibullah, Mohammed Zahir Shah took the power in 1934. During his reign, women were treated almost colde to equal as men. He made the role of the women more prominent in the society by giving them freedom.
Now women had access to more respectable jobs, such as jobs in hospitals or teachers in local schools. Women also had rights to drive and travel alone among a number of other things.
Then in the 1960s and 1970s, women had an opportunity to work in the government of the country, which was a great achievement for Afghanistan.
During the reign of Mohammed Daoud who followed Zahir’s government in starting from 1973 the role of the women improved much more. He even gave the opportunity to some women who were married to high ranking officials to appear in certain events unveiled.
Gender equality was so close to being real during this period. The role of women in Afghanistan was emerging day by day. Women were integrated into society affairs and raised their voice of disagreement whenever they felt something was unjust towards them.
The country was developing even more after the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1979. In 1984 women had the same job opportunities as men. Women made half of the labour force working in the variety of different positions.
The Role of the Women in Afghanistan and Taliban Rule
After the fall of the Soviet possession in Afghanistan in 1992, the country appeared in an upsetting condition, becoming the victim of violent attacks.
Many groups were fighting for the power. Everybody forgot about constitution and the country was renamed the Islamic State of Afghanistan.
In 1993 a new law passed according to which all women had to always wear a veil in public. Women education was totally forgotten as well.
The situation got even worse after the Taliban control. The rated of illiteracy among women in Afghanistan was one of the highest in the world. While under the power of Taliban power Afghanistan appeared in a notorious condition.
There couldn’t be any mentioning about the role of the women or gender equality during this period. The treatment towards women became unbearable. Afghan women were forced to veil their faces in all public places as according to one Taliban spokesman “ The face of women is the source of corruption”.
Women were not allowed to work and be educated. The only priority of women was the family. The role of women in Afghanistan started and ended by maternity. The role of the women raised by their age. The more sons women had the more priorities and respect she was given.
Women could face public execution only for violations of Taliban law. Taliban law encouraged marriages for girls under the age of 16. According to Amnesty International, the 80% of Afghan Marriages were forced.
The Role of the Women in Afghanistan Today
After the abolishment of Talian rule, the condition of women’s rights improved a bit. However, they still remained at the low level and far from international standards. Women are allowed to work and pursue an education, though early marriages are still dominating.
It’s difficult to fight against the deeply rooted traditions among people. The family violence against women still remains at a high rate. By the way, Afghanistan belongs to the rare countries where, according to statistics, the rates of women’s suicide is higher than the men’s.
Many women become victims of rough traditions and domestic violence which make their lives unbearable. Overall the situation is on its way to improve and the difference is especially noticeable in the urban areas of the country.
One of the notorious examples of discrimination was the case of Farkhunda Malikzada, an Afghan woman who was publicly executed because of the rumors that she allegedly burned the Quran. Later the police investigation discovered that she hadn’t burn Quran.
Despite the abolishment of Taliban rule, the literacy rate in Afghanistan still remains of the lowest in the world. Only 25 % of the population can read and write and only 13% of women in the population are literate. As we all know, education is the key to self-recognition and self-independence. So, the high illiteracy rate among women can be one of the main reasons why women’s rights are violated here so much.
- On Average Afghan women are inclined to have 7 children. It’s difficult to think about career and job opportunities when you’re a mother of 7 children.
- The Average salary of Afghanistan is 48 cents a day.
- The picture is even more upsetting in the villages, where only 1% of girls attend schools.
- 74% percent of girls leave the school by 5th grade. Either they get married or they are forced to quit the education.
- According to the survey held in 2008, 82% of Afghan women have experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence at least once in their lives.
- About 80% of all marriages in Afghanistan are either child or forced marriages.
Women empowerment in Afghanistan
Empowering women in Afghanistan remains one of the crucial challenges of international institutions. Even though there is a slight improvement in the role of women in Afghanistan, there is a lot more to do. There is a number of organizations engaged in the empowerment of Afghan women today.
One of the prominent organizations engaged in women empowerment in Afghanistan is the Asian Foundation. The organization strives to create social, economic and political opportunities for women. Another well-known Women empowerment organization is Women Empowered Inc.
The main aim of this organization is to increase the literacy rate among Afghan women. The increase of literacy level will advance basic human rights and gender equality.
It’s out of a discussion that Afghanistan is one of those countries where the empowerment of women should be in the first place.
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