10 years on: Has the plight of Women in Afghanistan changed?


Fawzia Koofi yesterday commented on the Guardian claiming that womens rights have improved. She portrayed the small but important victories as the consequences of invasion and pleads Britain not to desert Afghanistan now. This is debatable. Not only because Afghanistan and its women first voted in a democratic election in 1965 before US intervention but also because war cannot lead to progression when it results only in destruction.

The perception of Western influence and the equality of women is debatable too. Whilst one may believe the Western world is a model example to the East in terms of the role of women within society, the fact remains that there are a significantly larger proportion of women in positions of political power in Eastern countries than there are in the UK and America.

Yesterdays Evening Standard exhibited how the rights of women still need to be addressed leading with “GIRL, 8, SOLD AS BRIDE TO POLICE OFFICER” on its front page. The heartbreaking story showed how only 10 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces implement the “Elimination Of Violence Against Women” legislation 2 years after its introduction. Many cases of child-brides and violence against women can be heard because those who break the legislation are rarely held to account. It is the battle of hearts and minds that the Afghani people and authorities must conquer to ensure women are liberated.

 

It must be remembered that intervention did not and does not centre on securing the rights of women despite their position having slightly improved. The truth is it is difficult to know the true plight of Afghani women. The two contrasting stories show how it is dependent on many factors: location, family background, political alignments, etc.

The only way to truly know is to visit Afghanistan yourself and speak to its women. All I can be sure of is that war cannot help liberate women, especially when they, and the children they bear, are the ones who suffer the most from it.  And this is why I supporting the Anti-War mass assembly in Trafalgar Square tomorrow.

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