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Interview with an Afghan student about the situation for women in Afghanistan

Within the framework of a project aimed at presenting the situation for women in Afghan and in honor of International Women's Day, I conducted an interview with an Afghan female student whom I have been mentoring for the past few months through a program called SOLA (http://www.sola-afghanistan.org/)
Here is the article that is based on her comments and which can be found on a website called Pax Populi (http://www.paxpopuli.org)

Young Afghan female student (anonymous)

Men and women in Afghanistan do not have equal rights. This means that many women have to stay at home and are not given an opportunity to go out and work. There is however, a small minority of women are able to get an education and to work in the field of education, law, and medicine.

While in the past women had no freedom, some changes have occurred: More women are able to go to school and some are given an opportunity to study abroad. There are also women who have become active in women’s rights groups and have founded cafes such as the Sahar Gul café where women can meet, discuss topics relating to women’s rights and can educate themselves through technology and literature. Now women have the ability to openly protest for their rights and we have now seen women taking to the streets to protest and to demand more equal rights. Hopefully, this trend will continue and will spread as the Afghan society becomes more aware of their impact.

The main challenge for Afghan women is the lack of facilities available to them. Because not all women are able to have access to an education and they are therefore faced with very few options made available to them. Some find themselves being controlled and diminished by family members or some men. In many cases you see the men in their lives forbidding them to study, because they fear that they could become more independent and more vocal about their rights. Some women are faced with being abandoned by their families, insulted, or threatened if they go against their family’s expectations.

To ensure equality both men and women need to join together and discuss their feelings and opinions about equality. Men in society should also encourage women to pursue an education.

Support also needs to come from the government they need to sponsor or create programs where men and women can work together and learn how to treat each other with mutual respect and tolerance.

Women need to work hard and demand their right to an education. They also need role models who can show them what it means to be a successful woman and who can provide guidance or mentor them in a certain field of interest. Programs such as SOLA or AIWR (www.aiwr.org/) are an example of this because they offer support through mentoring/teaching, which enable students to gain confidence in themselves and to believe that they can contribute to the future of Afghanistan and that they are a great asset to the development of the country.

http://www.paxpopuli.org/be-inspired/young-afghan-female-student-anonymous/

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »

Comments

Amei's picture

Hi Lea

Equality is an issue that we have to address daily. There is a woman somewhere always subjected to abuse.

You are right to state that men must join together to improve the situation of women. In a place like Afghanistan men has to be educated to treat women with respect and equality.

I am happy that you have posted this article. We need need more people to express their concerns on this issue.

Wish you all the best and have a good week ahead.

In friendship'
Amei

Lea's picture

Thank you!

Thank you so much, Amei, for your thoughtful and supportive words. I really appreciate it!
Sadly, you are right. Women are still subjected to abuse, which is why it's so important for their voices to be heard and for us to share their stories with the community.
Yes, absolutely, Afghan men, or more specifically men, in general need to learn to treat women with respect. That's why we need to encourage programs that bring men and women together so that they can learn about each other and to understand each other's emotions.
Thank you again for reading!

JaniceW's picture

Equality

Thank you for sharing this interview. SOLA is a great program and has provided amazing opportunities to its young girls. What I love in reading about the program is that many give back by returning to Afghanistan to mentor the next generation. They become role models and represent the bright future that is possible for the country.

In speaking about men and women working together, I wonder if you have met Ali Shahidy who is conducting workshops to teach men to break the cycle of violence and abuse against women in Afghanistan. You might be interested in his story which you can find at the below link:
http://worldpulse.com/node/61590

Thank you again for sharing the young woman's views.

Lea's picture

Thank you very much, Janice,

Thank you very much, Janice, for your comment and for telling me about Ali Shahidy. That name sounds very familiar! I will definitely read his story and am so glad that he is conducting workshops to encourage women and men to work together.

Yes, SOLA has been doing amazing work and has helped to give those students greater opportunities in order for them to become role models, as you said, and to make a difference in Afghanistan.
Thank you again!

estelle's picture

Hi Lea

I compliment ur great efforts and bringing to us enriching stories. luv

Lea's picture

Thanks Estelle! I appreciate

Thanks Estelle! I appreciate that!

smothyz's picture

Equality

coming from a country where men believe that women cannot rule them especially as a president, i do understand in a way how women in Afghan must feel. however, i like the fact that you have looked more on what we can do instead of bashing the culture and the government.
it's true that men never want women to get educated because i think they are scared of how far women can go if they have are empowered.

i also think that as women we too need to stop being so scared and if we feel in our hearts it's good for us and the generation to come, then we ought to face all the challenges and step out. my example is that of the 15 year old Afghan girl who was shot in the head because she was advocating for girls education.

thank you for sharing this piece.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only LOVE can do that. -Martin Luther King Jnr.

Lea's picture

Thank you for your great and

Thank you for your great and thoughtful comments, Claudia! I agree that it doesn't serve a purpose to bash a country, seeing as it doesn't solve the problem and is counterproductive.
Yes, I agree with you completely that we women should form a community and demand greater equality. More importantly, we need to involve men in the dialog in order for there to be trust and respect.
Malala Yousafzai is a perfect example of that as she was brave enough to take a stand and advocate for girls' education. She's definitely a hero in my book!

yvonnegemandze's picture

Equallity must be promoted

Hello Lea,

Thank you very much for all your personal efforts in trying to bridge the gab of inequality.Your story about Afghan women is pathetic but your recommendations are far-reaching and I'm sure most women and girls will have the opportunity of knowing the challenges others are facing at that part of the world.

Be rest assured that, with your article, you will inspire somebody.

Regards

Yvonne Riwuya Gemandze
Chief Administrative Officer and Researcher
Center for Independent Development Research, Cameroon
Junior Chamber International (JCI) Cameroon National Vice President
yvonnegemandze@gmail.com
+237 70212069

Lea's picture

Thank you very much, Yvonne,

Thank you very much, Yvonne, for your thoughtful comments and for your support. It's great to read such positive comments. Yes, I hope that we can work together to support women worldwide in standing up for equality and basic human rights

Thank you again!

BUHENDWA NEEMA's picture

BONJOUR

je suis heureuse de lire cette article,par courage le sont entre de lutées pour l’équitable droit entre l'homme et la femme
bien à vous et courage dans les luttes

neema

Lea's picture

Merci beaucoup, Neema, pour

Merci beaucoup, Neema, pour votre commentaire et vous remercie d'avoir lu mon article.

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