Afghan Women's Rights

Project Background

A woman plays multiple roles in today’s society. She contributes to her community and family as a daughter, sister, wife and mother. In Afghan society women are predominantly respected in their roles as mothers but the scenario is not so pleasant when women play their part as wives, daughters and sisters. In many households women are considered inferior to men and are deprived of their basic rights. What makes the situation worse is that these women have no platform available to voice their concerns and hope for justice.

“The story of the Afghan woman is the story of survival. During the Taliban period, women were not allowed to work and could not even go out of their homes unless accompanied by a male family member. The Taliban burned down girls’ schools and carried out horrible abuses, such as acid burnings or even cutting a woman’s face with impunity. Yet we survived the Taliban era, most of us vanishing into our homes, leaving our jobs and education; others living in poverty as refugees in neighboring countries. Emerging from those dark days, we have fought hard to win back our basic rights.” (Afghan Women Activist)

Gender equality, or the fight to ensure women are treated the same as their male counterparts and are granted equal rights, is an issue that exists in all regions of the world. While the quest for gender equality has been going on for more than a century, the challenges that exist are numerous and require more effort that is dynamic and innovative in nature to ensure progress is made. Since the fall of Taliban and the establishment of the new government in Afghanistan, efforts were put in place to provide a platform for women to re-engage in the society and gain as well as sustain equal rights. Afghan women gradually and cautiously found their way back to the workforce and some even made their way to the government and engaged in politics. However there is a vast majority of women who continue to suffer from gender based violence resulting from harmful cultural practices and social norms prevailing in the Afghan society. The prevalent perceptions regarding women’s rights and their contributions need to improve leading towards galvanizing mass public support. This as a result would lead towards a better future for Afghan girls and women providing them with equal opportunity.

1Amnesty International – “Afghanistan: Women’s Rights are Non-Negotiable” Human Rights Activist Guide.