Throughout time women in Afghanistan have been fighting for their right to personal freedom. Over time they have been improving very slowly and since the Taliban was removed in 2001, women’s rights have made even greater gains under the rule of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Laws have been made to help protect women, even as President Karzai endorsed a “code of conduct” issued in 2012 by the Ulema Council of Afghanistan that stated the women should, “.
.. refrain from interacting with stranger men in various public places such as offices, schools and universities and shopping centres.” Outlawing of rape and the marriage of girls under the age of 16; allowing women to have freedom outside of their husbands are some of the laws that have been enacted.
Slowly women have been granted access into an education and owning property. Some women have even gone into law enforcement. Afghanistan has had much trouble balancing the rights of women against attitudes of Afghan religious and secular leaders. Women in Afghanistan have come a long way with their rights and they are still moving forward. For example: “In 2009 Afghanistan passed a law…
that took a stand for the elimination of violence against Afghan women”(Ahmadi). The law states that anyone who violates a woman will be punished, fined, or jailed. The second part of the law states that women can no longer be forced into marriage or been sold into rape. This law states that, “violence against women is contrary to the religion of Islam” (Ahmed-Ghosh). Even though this laws is in place, Afghan women still deal with violence every day. Younger girls are being forced into marriage, even as this law states that the, “Civil code of Afghanistan prohibits marriage under the age of 15” (Ahmed-Ghosh). Even though girls can’t marry till they’re 16, 87 percent of women still report that they have encountered some sort of mental, sexual or physical abuse in the past year with their partners (Ahmed-Ghosh). Laws that are at odds with the Ulema code of conduct result in uneven application of rights.
The murder of Farkhunda Malikzada is a good example. She was falsely accused of burning the Quran, beaten and murdered by a crowd while the police tried the help and then just gave up and let the crowd beat her with sticks and rocksand the run her over with a car dragging her body 300ft to the Kabul river were they attempted to burn her with her own clothes. Fortynine of her attackers were tried, four were sentenced to death with eight others sentenced to sixteen years in prison. The death sentences were reduced to twenty years on appeal.
Eleven police officers including the chief were sentenced to one year in prison.Equality was nonexistent in the once Taliban controlled Afghanistan. Girls and women who live in Kabul and and other major cities in Afghanistan are able to go out alone, have jobs and seek an education, because there is more government control as compared to the more remote places in the country. In the less controlled areas outside cities, people are able to get away with abuse, sexual assault, and murder of women. Outside the cities, if education opportunities exist at all for girls, a lot of parents are afraid to allow their daughters just to go to school. It’s common for girls to be a abducted on the way to school and sexually assaulted. Two years after the Taliban ended, President Hamid Karzai, had proved unable to protect women. “The risk of rape and sexual violence by members of armed factions and former combatants is still high.
Forced marriage, particularly of girl children, and violence against women in the family are widespread in many areas of the country.” (Rawi)Even though there are laws that say that women are no longer allowed to be controlled and abused by men it still happens on the down low. Women must be escorted by men when they leave the house, and they are not allowed to have any contact with men unless it’s their husband. Here in America women are able to vote, have job and have access to freedom unlike the women in Afghanistan. The power of a girl grows as she gets older.
A good family and marriage with lots of sons is considered successful, and a goal of Afghan men. “In Afghanistan, ranked the worst country in the world to be born a girl, some parents are bringing up their daughters as sons” (Ahmadi). Some Afghan girls are raised as boys, as they get older they are expected to switch genders just because men are viewed as the superior gender.
Women are not allowed to ride in a taxi or walk without a male relative or their husband. If a women is seen with a man that is unfamiliar they can been taken by “special police” and rushed to the hospital. They will run tests on them to see when they last had sexual inteercourse. Due to all the of humiliation women go through, many of them turn to suicide.
The idea of being a virgin is very important to their religion. If a husband claims his bride is not is not a virgin on her wedding night, she can be killed, or publicly humiliated. Even though women still encounter a lot of pain and suffering because of the vibe of their culture, the violence of rape, mental and sexual abuse, the distortion of their self image from confused gender roles; the movement of allowing women freedom is still growing. It may be at a very slow pace, but everyday their world is changing. While laws protect the women of Afghanistan, there is still social pressure for them to not be in public without a close male relative and to not associate with other men, and that social pressure can unleash violence upon them if unheeded.