News / Asia

Afghan Women Await Poll Results With Hope

Afghan Women Await Poll Results With Hopei
X
Zlatica Hoke
April 05, 2014 10:42 AM
Hopes are high that Afghanistan's election Saturday may result in the country's first peaceful transition of power in more than a century. Militant attacks and electoral fraud are the main threats to the vote for a new president, who will take over after President Hamid Karzai ends his second term. Afghan women, whose freedom has often been curtailed, also worry about their future under a new government. Zlatica Hoke has this report.
Afghan Women Await Poll Results With Hope
Zlatica Hoke
Hopes are high that Afghanistan's election Saturday may result in the country's first peaceful transition of power in more than a century.  Militant attacks and electoral fraud are the main threats to the vote for a new president, who will take over after President Hamid Karzai ends his second term.  Afghan women, whose freedom has often been curtailed, also worry about their future under a new government.

In this beauty parlor in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, the presidential election is the main topic of conversation.  Owner Balqis Azizi says it is not clear what the future will bring regardless of who is elected.

"We hope it will be good.  It is a concern for all of us.  What will happen?  Nobody knows what programs the candidates have for the future.  People are concerned about who is going to be elected," she said.

During the Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, women had to be all but invisible in Afghanistan.  They could not leave the house without being accompanied by a male relative, they had to be completely covered in public and most of them were not allowed to work outside the home.  Their situation has improved since then, but there are fears that a new leader may reverse some of the gains made by women.  Salma Hadari hopes this will not be the case.

"The next president should have good thinking, should have a good mind, he should respect women, he should let women work, like us, so that women go forward.  He should think in a modern way; he should be a good man and should work for our country," said Hadari.

Kate Clark, country director at Afghanistan Analysts Network, says laws protect an Afghan woman's right to education and employment but that in reality, men still control what a woman can do.  

"Under the Taliban, women largely couldn't work unless they were in the health professions.  So it's now a legal thing to work; it's a legal thing for girls to go to school or go to university.  There are women in parliament; there are quotas for women which have ensured there is female representation. But Afghanistan is still a deeply, deeply, deeply patriarchal society.  There are many women that can't go out," she said.

Taliban militants have vowed to disrupt the elections, and recent  brazen attacks in the heart of Kabul are clearly designed to keep voters away; but, Azizi says it is her duty to vote.
   
"Everyone's responsibility is to cast their ballot.  These candidates look good to me, but let's see what will happen.  We will cast our ballot and see what happens," said Azizi.

To help improve security at the polls, Afghan police have trained female officers to search female voters.  New police recruit Siddiqa says she is not afraid of anyone.  

"My message for my other sisters is to come and join the police alongside their brothers and sisters - to defend their country,” she said.

Women in Afghanistan's urban areas seemed determined to vote but, analysts say that in the rural south and east where the Taliban are strong, voter turnout could be weak among men as well as women.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More