Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

Concerns Regarding Discrimination Against Women

Serious concerns regarding the rights of women in Afghanistan have been persistent. Unfortunately, there have not been tangible measures taken regarding discrimination and violence against women and each year, thousands of women are victimized in some way or the other.
A report on Friday, March 09, revealed that a total of 1535 cases of violence against women were recorded in northeastern Baghlan, Takhar and Kunduz province in the ongoing solar year, with 615 incidents in Takhar, 582 in Kunduz and 338 in Baghlan.Unfortunately, the response of the government against this alarming situation has not been encouraging.
It is, however, imperative to know that these are only the cases that have been recorded. There could have been many other cases that have not come to the light and have remained in the dark corridors of the houses. And, these are only the cases in three provinces of Afghanistan; the overall situation would be very frightening.
As a matter of fact, violence and discrimination against women do not seem to be decreasing in the country, and there are fears that the gains acquired in uplifting the position of women in Afghan society in the last some years, may be compromised to a certain extent. Instability and disorder have further deteriorated the situation for the weaker stratum, like women. This is coupled with discrimination and violence that basically originate from the extremist religious and tribal practices.
Women in Afghanistan, unfortunately, have seen some of the worst discriminations ever heard or experienced. Most of them were seen during the civil war and Taliban reign. After the downfall of Taliban, though there have been certain improvements, still a large portion of work needs to be done to save women from violence and discrimination and support them to live a life with dignity and honor.
The discrimination against women starts since their birth; and even before that. There have been incidents when girl babies have been killed in the wombs of their mothers. In certain cases, after the fathers come to know about the gender of the babies before their birth, they arrange for forced abortions and thus the so-called honor of the family is saved. This has, thus, given rise to a double discrimination. The first one is that the girl before taking birth has been killed because of her gender and the second is that the mother’s will has never been considered regarding the birth of her child. In addition, the women who do not give birth to boys are considered as worthless and their in-laws do not respect or honor them at all.
It has also led to a situation wherein the women are compelled to keep on giving birth unless the baby is a boy. This has a very negative impact on the health of women as continuous pregnancy reduces their energies and spoil their health. There are situations when women have to give birth to eight to ten children. As it deteriorates the health of the mothers, it, at the same time, engages her in the responsibilities of nourishment of so many children, as fathers are mostly considered free from such responsibilities in our society.
Continuously engaged in giving birth to too many children and nourishing them does not let women pursue any career or profession in life. Even if the women are educated, they are mostly not able to pursue their education or the profession of their choice after they are married. This deprives them from their right of pursuing the career of their choice and at the same time deprives them of financial benefits. As means of income in a family are with the men, they are financially stronger and make decisions about the family and women, as they are not able to make income by doing a job, fail to gain such advantage and are, thus, considered burden that is being shouldered by men.      
As far as marriage is concerned, there are only few occasions when women are asked about their consent. Mostly, they are married in accordance to the decision of the family, or of the father, brother or uncle. They are even married to settle disputes among families and to cancel the debts of the families. They are mostly married when they are children. Child marriages are now a very common practice in Afghanistan. This gives an opportunity to the society to discriminate them as much as possible because as children they are not able to understand their basic rights and consider their situation their destiny.
In addition to what has been mentioned above, one of the worst sorts of violence against women is a sexual assault. There are different incidents when women are brutally raped by savage men to quench their covetous desires. We have witnessed incidents when women or even small girls are gang-raped in different parts of our country.  
This is one of the worst types of violence that can be witnessed only in our society. A society, that claims to be Islamic, and where women are considered as the honor of the family and tribe, a little girl is gang-raped in the most brutal way. This society really requires changing its attitude and standards. It requires throwing away the mask of hypocrisy and needs to safeguard the honor and dignity of women in a really true manner.