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Gender Roles in Afghanistan

Change Over Time
by

Melanie Greco

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of Gender Roles in Afghanistan

The Changing Roles of Women Gender Roles in Afghanistan Introduction Conclusion Between 1880 and present day, increasing personal and social rights have been granted to the women of Afghanistan but the country still remains to be an extremely patriarchal society which neglects to sufficiently protect women against abuse. Thesis: During the Soviet era in Afghanistan, the status of women was worse than the years before, but their rights were not dismissed completely because the communists had an intolerance for tribal customs.

*Tribal customs= ultraconservative traditions 1978-1996: Communist Rule and the Mujahideen The Taliban was a group of violent ultraconservatives who used extreme tactics to impose their subservient beliefs. This period in history poses the worst treatment of women. Women's rights in Afghanistan are slowly improving, however women are still subjected to violence and abuse. Afghanistan still continues to be a male-dominated world. The Taliban is a prevalent force within society which has weakened the Afghan government. The political unrest and failure to enforce laws has prevented any major reforms for women. Afghanistan is built on Islamic Faith

Islam emphasizes equality, justice, and community service for men and women

Ultraconservatives misinterpret Islam Ultraconservatices believe that:
-Males are responsible for family's welfare, politics, and relationships with outsiders

-Female roles stress motherhood and family nurturing. They are socially limited. Practice of Purdah:
Enforced veiling
Separate spaces for men and women
No interaction with males outside of mahrammat
Cannot leave home without a man (limits education and employment) Such restrictions are deemed necessary by conservative males because they consider women socially immature, with less moral control and physical restraint; women's hypersexuality precludes responsible behaviour. Consequently, women are untrustworthy and must be kept behind the curtain so as not to disrupt the social order. The need for isolation therefore is paramount. Justification: The Problem: Like all religions, Islam is open to interpretation. Throughout history, ruling bodies with varying interpretations of Islam have been in power. This is why the rights of women in Afghanistan seem unstable. Time Periods: 1880-1978: Pre-Communist Rule

1978-1996: Communist Rule and the
Mujahideen

1996-Present: Taliban Rule and Post
Taliban Milestones Changes: 1. Personal Rights: Education and Healthcare

2. Social Freedoms: Employment, Marriage
Rights, and Veiling 1880-1978: Pre-Communist Rule In the years before communist rule, women were gaining personal rights and social freedoms because the rulers of Afghanistan had a more liberal ideology Change #1: Personal Rights
First hospital for women

1941: Amir Habullah opened first Secondary School for girls

Women given right to inherit property Change #2: Social Freedoms Amir Abdur Rahman Khan abolished tribal custom forcing women to marry deceased husband's brother

Raised age of marriage

Right to divorce

Discouraged polygamy

Allowed women to unveil "Religion does not require women to veil their hands, feet, and faces or enjoin any special type of veil. Tribal customs must not impose itself on the free will of the individual"
-Amir Abdur Rahman Khan Women allowed to enter work force (teachers, nurses, politicians)
1964: Right to vote
1965: Democratic Organization of Afghan
Women Prior to communism, the roles of women were developing for the better and politicians were imposing more liberal ideologies. Change #1: Personal Rights Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) heavily supported by Soviets

Compulsory education for girls Change #2: Social Freedoms Bride prices abolished
Minimum legal age for marriage 16 yrs
Women allowed to work
1984: Khatol Mohammadzai became first
Afghan woman paratrooper Mujahideen liberated Afghanistan from the communists

Formed an Islamic State

Women were still allowed to work (50% of working population was women)

Gulbuddin Heymatyar became Prime Minister and restricted basic freedoms The Soviet era was a time of social stagnation due to political unrest, but when Mujahideen overthrew the communists, much of society reverted back to its ultraconservative traditions. 1996-Present: Taliban Rule and Post-Taliban Milestones Change #1: Personal Rights Women not allowed to seek medical help from a doctor

Women not allowed to go to school

Taliban supported whipping, beating and verbal abuse of women not clothed in accordance with Taliban rules Change #2: Social Freedoms Women forbidden to work
Former doctors, teacher, lawyers, etc. became beggars and prostitutes to feed family
Could not leave house without male escort
Forced to be covered from head to toe, even eyes 2001:The Taliban was forced out of Kabul (urban city in Afghanistan) when U.S. intervened

2004: New Constitution, became Islamic
Republic

New constitution guaranteed women's rights to education

5.4 million children enrolled in schools, 35% girls Post Taliban Rule & Recent Milestones: New constitution allowed women to work
2002: Khatol Mohammadzai becomes first first
woman General in Afghan National Army
2004: First female athletes compete in Summer
Olympics in Athens
2005: President Hamid Karzai appointed Afghan's
first female provincial governor
2008: First political party dedicated to women
called National Need
2009: Azra Jafari appointed first woman mayor Although the Taliban imposed the worst standards ever experienced by Afghan women, the defeat of the Taliban and the new constitution continues to facilitate positive changes for the rights of women. Continuity The physical abuse of women in Afghanistan has been persistent throughout history and women are not sufficiently protected from these crimes. 1880-1978: Pre-Communist Rule During this time the personal rights and social freedoms were gradually increasing but the domestic abuse of women was a societal norm.

Despite new laws which supported women, men ultimately had the final say and if women disobeyed them they would be beaten 1978-1996: Communist Rule and the Mujahideen Still legal for men to abuse women

Violence against women not recognized as a punishable crime

Soviets invaded villages and raped women with no punishment 1996-Present: Taliban Rule to Present Whipping and beating of women supported if women did not obey rules set by Taliban
Taliban publicly executes and tortures women for disobeying rules
2008: Taliban supporters sprayed acid on faces
of schoolgirls 700 women jailed for running away from abuse

August 2009: Law passed which criminalizes child marriage, selling and buying women to settle disputes, assault and more than a dozen other acts of violence and abuse against women

Human Rights Commission recorded more than 4,000 cases of violence against women from 21 March to 21 October 2010

Most not reported to police, only 760 incidents reported

Under-reported because of cultural restraints, social norms and religious beliefs, according to the report

Women often turned down when they try to file reports The abuse of women is a societal norm in Afghanistan. Although a law was passed in 2009 which criminalized abuse against women, they are still not properly enforced. THE END By: Melanie Greco http://www.afghan-web.com/woman/afghanwomenhistory.html http://www.afghan-web.com/woman/afghanwomenhistory.html http://www.afghan-web.com/woman/afghanwomenhistory.html http://www.afghan-web.com/woman/afghanwomenhistory.html http://www.afghan-web.com/woman/afghanwomenhistory.html http://www.photius.com/countries/afghanistan/society/afghanistan_society_gender_roles.html http://www.photius.com/countries/afghanistan/society/afghanistan_society_gender_roles.html http://www.photius.com/countries/afghanistan/society/afghanistan_society_gender_roles.html http://www.photius.com/countries/afghanistan/society/afghanistan_society_gender_roles.html http://www.photius.com/countries/afghanistan/society/afghanistan_society_gender_roles.html http://www.photius.com/countries/afghanistan/society/afghanistan_society_gender_roles.html http://www.photius.com/countries/afghanistan/society/afghanistan_society_gender_roles.html http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-10/04/c_131887755.htm http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-10/04/c_131887755.htm http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/11/afghan-women-suffer-abuse-un http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/11/afghan-women-suffer-abuse-un http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/11/afghan-women-suffer-abuse-un http://english.pravda.ru/history/09-10-2012/122385-womens_rights_afghanistan-0/ Discussion Questions 1. What are tribals? What do they believe in? (Hint: Purdah)
2. Was communism good or bad for Afghan women? Why?
3. In 2009 a law was passed which protects women. Why was it created? Why has it failed?
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