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Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

As an American woman it is difficult to imagine the disparities that Afghanistan women face on a daily basis. There are many freedoms that women in America have been granted because many women before them protested and won. However, women in Afghanistan suffer in silence with the many inequities of their culture and society. These women have seen over two decades of brutal war and impoverishment with no hope of closure to this violent era anytime soon. In order to face these obstacles the women choose self-immolation as a way out. Self-immolation, burning oneself alive, is not only one of the most painful ways to die, but also one of the few ways that many women feel empowered. This may seem bizarre to a person in a country where there are justices and ways to seek help when life begins to become too overwhelming.

Women in Afghanistan did at one point have many freedoms: land propriety, education, freedom to divorce and to be able to work alongside men. However, when the Taliban took over the country women lost all of their rights. However, in 2001 when the Taliban was gone the Afghan women were permitted to go back to school and start to gain the same rights that their men counterparts had. However, this continued to be a struggle. Young women continued to fear returning to school due to the violence and bombings. Unfortunately, without education these women will continue to face bleak futures because without literacy and knowledge their will continue to be a great disparity between women and men. These women also continue to face the domestic violence issues in their homes and marriages because of their inability to find a way out.

Women in the Afghan culture are told by their current government that they are free to seek education and employment; however, if a woman marries she still loses all of her freedoms to her husband who is still considered the head of the household. If he believes that she cannot work or continue her education (women are still married off at a young age of 10 or 11) then she no longer possesses those freedoms. These women are more often than not victims of domestic violence, but with little to no education, no means to independently support themselves, and no law to protect them; these women see no way out. This feeling of hopelessness and helplessness leads the women to one last form of control and that is self-immolation. Even though it is an extremely painful way to die these women believe it will bring light onto the way they were treated by their husband and this may help shed light on the brutalities that the Afghan women are experiencing.

 

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