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Silver Lining? Afghanistan Women Are Quietly Gaining Ground

Since the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, a lot has changed. Maybe the most obvious and notable has been the change in women’s roles in that nation.

While under the Taliban, women were strictly relegated to traditional, some would say, oppressive functions under pain of death should they refuse. This resulted in staggering illiteracy rates, mortality rates, and no opportunities to play any part in the governing of their nation.

But somewhat surprisingly, in the middle of a nation of continuing strife, that is changing rapidly. To see how,


One province, Bamian, although unique is pushing the boundaries of these traditional sexual roles in Afghan society. For one, women are slowly but determinedly joining their local police force, a job that was unheard of seven years ago. They also have the first woman governor, appointed by President Hamid Karzai three years ago. This has inspired women to slowly join other councils and be heard.

Many suggest that the underlying reason for women taking on such untraditional roles has a lot to do with rising prices, drought, and poverty. One woman who also joined the police force said: “It was very difficult to find a job ... Finally, I decided if I could not find another job, I should go into the police.” Though progress is being made in terms of roles for women, Afghan women still struggle. The maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan is thought to be the highest in the world — for every 16 babies born, one mother will die in child birth.


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