Predicament of Afghan Women: Remembering the Past; Looking to the Future

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Several teenage girls were walking to school in Kandahar, a city in Southern Afghanistan, talking about an upcoming test, when two men on a motorcycle drove by and sprayed them with battery acid from a water bottle. In seconds, their skin was burning from the contact and the end results were two girls permanently disfigured and at least one blinded. What did they do to deserve this treatment? They were born female and tried to attend school (Chassay, 2008). This is just one of the myriads of examples in which gender discrimination is illustrated in Afghanistan. Organizations all over the globe and various governments, including that of the United States, are concerned about the current situation of Afghan women and are trying to make changes to bring about more gender equality in Afghanistan in several zones, including education, social, political and health care.


Historically, the Middle-Eastern country of Afghanistan has had the most extreme cases of female subjugation under Islamic law. Just what is the official status of women in Islam? Over 14 centuries ago, Islam stated that men and women were equal in the eyes of God, and all had the rights of voting, working, choosing marriage partners, and inheritance (Qazi, 2010). The prophet Mohammed was alleged to have said, "Women are but sisters shaqa'iq, or twin halves of men” (Badawi 1971). Traditionally, a veil of respect is placed around the Muslim woman, and she is given equal, but not identical rights, with the reasoning that if her rights were the same as man’s, then she would be a duplicate of him. Abdul-Ati (n.d.) claimed that the equal rights given to her take her into due consideration, acknowledge her, and recognize her independent personality. The role of a wi...

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