Women in Afghanistan

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Researching the Women in Afghanistan has informed me about the many different aspects that have shaped these women into who they are today. They have survived through incredibly harsh periods when education for women was illegal and when being out in public without a male accompaniment was a punishable act as well. Not only have the women of Afghanistan survived through these terrible times, but they never seemed to give up home schooling girls in their homes and searching for a way to better their lives. They stood up for the rights they knew they should have, even when they were brutally murdered in front of their families for doing so. The women of Afghanistan have been crying for help throughout the years. As a result, women from around the world are starting to receive the much needed attention, get the help they have needed to get involved in their governments, and take a stand for women's rights around the world.

The women of Afghanistan have been brutally beaten, publicly flogged and killed for violating Taliban rules. This began after the Taliban seized control over Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan in 1996. The women and girls were stripped from their basic rights which put Afghanistan into a brutal state of gender apartheid. According to the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Taliban imposed extreme rules that banished women from the work force, closed schools for girls, expelled women from universities, prohibited women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative, ordered the visible windows of women's houses painted black, forced women to wear a burqa, and also prohibited women and girls from being examined by male physicians while banning most female doctors and nurses from working. If any women were caught breaking these rules, severe actions were taken by the Taliban. This was one of the most terrible times for women in Afghanistan. They were stripped of their basic rights and punished for absurd reasons. Some cases include a woman who ran a home school for girls was caught and killed in front of her family and friends. The Taliban showed no sympathy for older women either. An elderly woman was brutally beaten with a metal cable until her leg was broken just because her ankle was accidentally showing from underneath her burqa. ["The Taliban and Afghan Women: Background." Feminist Majority Foundation]

Life for women in Afghanistan has not always been this way, however. Before the Taliban took over, the women of Afghanistan were able to become doctors, wear western clothes in public, and go to school to get an education. It all started in 1919; King Amanullah and Queen Soraya took the throne of Afghanistan after Amir Habibullah's assassination. The king and queen planned to open six schools for women, because Queen Soraya believed an education for women would improve their social status and give them access to a better role in society. Along with her mother, Queen Soraya founded the first women's weekly magazine. [Dr. Huma Ahmed Ghosh. "Feminist Perspective." Afghan Magazine.]

Under King Amanullah and Queen Soraya's rule, life in Afghanistan for women was starting to become more modern. Women were able to take part and participate in society so much more than the past. Even in 1924, the bride price was eliminated and women were finally able to choose their own partners. This was a huge step, considering that in the past women were never allowed to choose or sometimes even see their future husbands before they got married.

However, traditionalists saw laws such as these as a loss of social status and even a loss of financial security. Loya Jirga, a group of tribal leaders in Afghanistan, put a stop to these new laws after the marriage age was changed to 18 for girls and 21 for men. This group also opposed education for young girls. They eventually forced the king to close down the schools for girls and return Afghanistan's policies to the old traditional ways. Women had to...
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