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The Plight of Afghan Women: Challenges, Inequality, and Struggles

In Afghanistan, women face numerous challenges simply because of their gender, often referred to as the "crime of being born a woman."
by TNN Editor - 26 Jun, 2023 1713
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Noor Zia

In Afghanistan, women face numerous challenges simply because of their gender, often referred to as the "crime of being born a woman." They encounter severe mistreatment at the hands of men, who display a cruel and degrading attitude towards women.

Sons, in Afghanistan, are favored over daughters, perpetuating the notion of male superiority. Women are expected to show respect to men of all ages, even if it means sacrificing their basic rights. Their voices are silenced, and any attempt to speak up can lead to dire consequences.

Furthermore, Afghan society often views women as mere objects for marriage and procreation. Their sole purpose is seen as bearing children and fulfilling the needs of their husbands and in-laws.

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Before marriage, exorbitant sums of money are demanded from the bride's family. Once married, women are treated as commodities owned by the husband's family, subjected to their whims and desires. They are not only confined to fulfilling marital duties but also expected to serve the entire family, often akin to being a servant. Even if they are unwell, they are obligated to continue working.

The struggles faced by Afghan women are not only perpetrated by men within their communities but also by the government. Whenever there is a change in leadership, new policies are implemented for women, often disregarding their rights and dignity.

Ban on Girls' Education

In 2021, when the Taliban gained control of the country, women's educational institutions were forcibly closed, and acts of violence against them escalated.

The ban on women's education was one of the immediate consequences of the Taliban's rule. Girls have been confined to their homes for the past three years, with little hope of resuming their studies.

The absence of educated women poses a significant obstacle to the progress of the country. Without educated women, who will become doctors to care for women's health? The treatment of women as lesser beings by the Taliban is evident.

They are deprived of freedom of expression, speech, and action. While boys attend schools, universities, and academies, girls are left confined at home, silenced, and depressed. This discrimination contradicts the teachings of Islam, which emphasizes education for both men and women. Islam promotes equality, yet the Taliban enforce stringent rules that oppress women.

Ironically, while women's education and workplaces are closed off, there is no prohibition on women resorting to begging for survival. The number of women beggars has significantly increased, highlighting the failure of the government to provide for its citizens' basic needs.

Violence against Afghan Women

Violence against women is rampant under the Taliban's rule. They impose extreme restrictions on women's mobility, insisting that they cannot leave their homes without a male guardian. This poses a dilemma for those without male family members.

Moreover, the Taliban dictates that homes must have high walls to prevent women from being seen or men from glancing at them. Such restrictions are not reflective of Islamic teachings, which emphasize peace and equality.

In public, women are subjected to beatings for not fully veiling their faces or wearing a small scarf. This stringent enforcement of covering the face does not align with true Islamic principles.

In summary, Afghan women face unimaginable challenges. In the 21st century, where progress has been made in various fields, Afghan women's situation continues to deteriorate. Poverty remains a significant issue, and the lack of education for women plays a pivotal role in perpetuating this problem.

The key to addressing these issues lies in recognizing women as equals and providing them with education and opportunities to thrive.