News / Asia

    Afghan Women’s Rights Face Uncertain Future

    In Afghanistan, An Uncertain Future for Afghan Women’s Rightsi
    X
    July 30, 2013 2:38 PM
    Afghan women are wondering what will happen to them when U.S.-led NATO combat forces leave the country at the end of 2014. The international community insists that rights achieved since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 should be protected. But women from around Afghanistan tell VOA’s Sharon Behn that their rights are a low priority among the country’s power brokers.
    Afghan women are wondering what will happen to them when U.S.-led NATO combat forces leave the country at the end of 2014. The international community insists that rights achieved since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 should be protected. Some  women from around Afghanistan say their rights are a low priority among the country’s power brokers.

    This group of female provincial council leaders is upset with the policies of the central government and they are not afraid to show it. Among them is Okmina who has dressed like a man since the Soviet invasion because she said it was safer than appearing in public as a woman.
     
    “The problem is that no one cares about the protection of women, commanders don’t, lawmakers don’t, no one is focusing on women's issues. They are behaving very badly towards women," said Okmina.
     
    Under the Taliban, women in Afghanistan were forced to wear face-covering burqas. They were forbidden from going to school.
     
    Now, women council leaders and lawmakers fight for their rights in this still male-dominated society.
     
    Violence

    Women say the government failed them by not implementing an Elimination of Violence Against Women law that banned child and forced marriages, among other crimes.
     
    Human Rights Watch said there are ominous signs that women face a darker future. Already, there has been a sharp increase of women and girls jailed for so called moral crimes, such as fleeing home or having sex outside marriage.
     
    Nilab Mobarez, spokeswoman for the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan, said protecting women’s rights and implementing the anti-violence law are critical for securing continued aid.  “We clearly say that if this law is not implemented or changed or amended it will negatively affect donations to Afghanistan,” she said.
     
    Illiteracy

    Roughly 90 percent of women in Afghanistan are still unable to read. In rural areas the rate is even higher.
     
    Law Professor Wadir Safi said there are still deep prejudices in society that prevent women from reaching their potential. 

    "I have given, introduced to girls, graduates of the law faculty, our faculty, our students, to go to India to study, to go to Turkey to study. They came to me. They say I am forbidden. They were crying, but they say unfortunately my parents they didn't agree. In some of the families, the brother does not agree, and she cannot go," Safi explained. "This is the situation in the cities, don't think about the provinces at all."
     
    Women here said if they are able to leave their houses, go to school and work, they will be able to improve their rights. But, they said, all that depends on the post-2014 security situation and what role the Taliban will have in Afghanistan’s future government.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora