Women's Rights Under Fire in Afghanistan

Louise Hall and Susan Fitzgerald pasting up women's suffrage poster (1917.)

Louise Hall and Susan Fitzgerald pasting up women's suffrage poster (1917.)

After eleven years of U.S occupation, societal developments in Afghanistan are still fraught with challenges. Human rights advocates find themselves constantly at odds with rigid traditions and a stagnant political system.  Despite setbacks, the country has made many strides since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. In a country notorious for its poor women's rights record, Afghanistan is slowly transforming into a place where women can enjoy freedom and prosperity.  While the Taliban regime deprived most women of basic education, The U.S has opened schools up to 2.7 million girls. Adding to this, 72% of women in Afghanistan think their lives have improved since the start of the American occupation. 

These advancements are not immune to change, however. With the occupying forces scheduled to leave the county in 18 months, some analysts fear the country might revert back to its ways prior to 2001. With only 9 women on the 70 member high peace Council, a committee assembled to negotiate peace with the Taliban and the UN ranking Afghanistan still among the worst countries for women on the globe, these anxieties are not misplaced. 

Despite these threats, rights advocates in Afghanistan fight on, maintaining the liberties and freedoms for women throughout the country. Their courage reminds us of the feminist struggle throughout history, particularly in our own county at the turn of the century to the 1970's. These images capture the full spirit of their fight and the passion for freedom everywhere.

Women's liberation demonstration (1972.)

Women's liberation demonstration (1972.)

  1. [1] http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/oct/06/women-afghanistan-feminist-experiment
  2. [2] http://www.voanews.com/content/united-nations-womens-rights-at-risk-in-afghan-peace-process/1713318.html