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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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thelorax thelorax 8 years
Echoing ceej - the struggle is far from over. I believe that, at least for now, that means we need to stay the course. We can't pull the rug out from underneath the fragile progress we've made -- but we can't linger indefinitely, especially when we are being asked to leave by some of their leaders.
poissondujour poissondujour 8 years
"Some would say... oppressive" - I'd say anyone with half a brain would say. I think that was a poor choice of words because even if the women wanted to stay home and fulfill a traditional role, it wasn't really a choice, was it? To me that's the definition of oppression.
ceej ceej 8 years
The highest ranking policewoman in Afghanistan was murdered last week on her way to work. I think the struggle is far from over as the murders continue.
stephley stephley 8 years
I understand, I just saw it in passing and haven't been able to sit down and read carefully.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I'm not sure, to be honest :oops: I was really tired when I read about it. I think one thing that can be deduced from it is that it seems it's no longer politically expedient for the Taliban to be associated with Al Qaeda; it seems to be an acknowledgement that their ties to Al Qaeda delegitimize them in the eyes of much of the world, and an attempt to move beyond that association. I could be wrong, though. Like I say, I was really tired when I read that.
stephley stephley 8 years
I saw that - but haven't read enough about it to figure out if it seems a good or bad thing. Does it become a three or four way conflict then? Or is someone getting weaker?
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Anyone else hear the news that the Taliban is supposedly cutting ties and associations with Al Qaeda? I thought that was interesting.
stephley stephley 8 years
Now if they could just get people to stop blowing up their children...
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