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Monday, March 22, 2010

Women's Rights, Afghanistan: Women fear loss of progress

The issue of women's rights in Afghanistan is resurfacing as Afghanistan's future remains uncertain. 

'Afghan women fear loss of hard-won progress'. According to The Washington Post, the head-to-toe burqas that made women a faceless symbol of the Taliban's violently repressive rule are no longer required here. But many Afghan women say they still feel voiceless eight years into a war-torn democracy, and they point to government plans to forge peace with the Taliban as a prime example. It seems that although gender activists have been pressing the administration of President Hamid Karzai for a part in the any deal-making with Taliban fighters and leaders, they have not yet been approached by the government. This is reportedly largely due to the belief that women are not important, a mind-set which is still inherent in Afghanistan. 

The Washington Post reports that the Taliban's repressive treatment of women helped galvanize international opposition in the 1990s, and by some measures democracy has revolutionized Afghan women's lives. Their worry now is not about a Taliban takeover, but that male leaders, behind closed doors and desperate for pace, might not force Taliban leaders to accept, however grudgingly, that women's roles have changed.

So I think it would be stating the obvious to say that women's rights are again in quite a precarious position. (Although one could argue that women's violence remains a regular occurrence in Afghanistan.)  Peace and security again (And I would personally say 'as usual', though I would also personally place peace and security over my own rights.) take precedence over rights, and in this case women's rights.


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