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Female Representation in Afghanistan's Parliament

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Female Representation in Afghanistan's Parliament

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Module 5 – Case
The Argument
Female representation in Afghanistan’s parliament is growing slowly. In many countries of the developing world women are systematically oppressed and discriminated against, but more so in Afghanistan than anywhere else. The oppression of females will likely continue until women gain a significant voice in elected bodies, but the change will be extremely slow without outside help. Seeking political equality in Afghanistan’s parliament may give women the voice so desperately needed to change.

Women’s oppression in Afghanistan is only rivaled by six countries. These countries were not considered because women are not allowed to vote. There is no real established political system where women would be given the opportunity for office. In two of these nations; Brunei and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), no one is allowed to vote, because the country does not currently have an electoral system. The UAE is expected to extend the right to vote to all citizens later this year. In two other nations; Bhutan and Lebanon, suffrage is partial. Women are technically allowed to vote, but find it difficult in practice because only one vote is allowed per household. In the remaining two; Saudi Arabia and Vatican City, women are not allowed to vote by law. Women's suffrage in these two countries has not yet been achieved, and may never be. 3 For these reasons women’s representation in Afghanistan’s parliament will be discussed. Since Afghanistan emerged from under Taliban rule in late 2001, women’s rights have made great strides on paper. But the reality on the ground is a mixed picture. The Loya Jirga or “grand council” of 2003 produced a constitution guaranteeing a place for women at the political table and gender equality for all as a basic right. The classroom, the workplace, the hospital and even the parliament have opened their doors to women, and they are playing an active role in the nation’s reconstruction. But tradition...

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