Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

Women Suffer Sexual Discrimination

Afghan women have suffered severely under patriarchy, mainly during the Taliban’s regime. Their blood is still spilled and they fell prey to violence and honor-killing on the grounds of their gender. Women are particularly left at the mercy of violence in tribal belts and in Taliban-dominated areas. The Taliban insurgents flagellated women in desert courts and treated them aggressively in one way or another. In suicide bombings, the lifeless bodies of women, as drops of boiling blood trickle down their wounds, fill one with a strong sense of sorrow and disgust.
The human rights of women are violated in collective and individual spheres. Their freedoms and social role are curtailed, mainly in villages – where traditional custom holds strong sway.Unsurprisingly, the girls are not entitled to decide whom to live with and it is their parents to choose their life-partners – this is almost common in some rural areas across the country. The birth of female child can hardly force smile to her parents’ lips and it is assumed that they will bear the brunt of discrimination and patriarchal system.
On March 8, Woman’s International Day was marked around the world as well as Afghanistan. Nonetheless, violence against women is practiced widely in Afghanistan. After all, the Ministry of Education has ordered that school girls over 12 years of age should not be allowed to perform ceremony in public, but only in women-all gatherings. It has triggered a strong reaction on social media as people, including men and women, criticized the ordered and called it a gender discrimination against women.
Reacting to the issue, the civil society also called it against Afghanistan’s legal and constitutional law as well as international instruments.
Images of abused and helpless Afghan women incessantly flood one’s mind, undermining the significant role of women as agents of change in Afghanistan.
In 1920s and 70s, also known as the period of economic and political stability, a large number of Afghan women asserted their rights and continued their education and professional pursuits. These women belonged to a privileged economic background; all the same their role and aspirations offer the world an alternative narrative. Acknowledging the agency, contributions, and strong voice of Afghan women does not undermine the stories of women like Nazia, an 18-year-old Afghan woman whose nose and ears were sliced off by her husband and appeared on the cover of Time magazine in August 2010, or Sitara, a 30-year-old women whose nose and lips were lopped off by her addict husband in Herat province in 2013 and their audacious spirit, whose story of sufferings is one too many for our world.
Despite the progress made, women’s struggle for civic and human rights still has a long way to go. Three decades of war has left many Afghans both eager for change and afraid of it. There are still many instances of ordinary women experiencing domestic violence, being sexually abused, or being forced into marriage.
Women in senior leadership roles – such as in parliament or the police – are still being murdered. Some men feel threatened by the presence of women in senior positions. These men see women’s rights as the “westernization” of Afghan culture.
To the unmitigated chagrin of Afghan women, Afghanistan’s presidential elections could not mitigate violence against women or prevented violation of their rights and liberties. Women fell victim to gang violence and were raped constantly.
In other words, the macabre stories and hackneyed phrases of violence made repeated headlines on national and international newspapers – and continue up to now.
Women should no more suffer men’s fractious attitudes, mental and physical tortures. The religious guidelines and country’s law should be practiced upon. Patriarchal system should end so that women’s rights and dignity be held in respect.
The Constitution of Afghanistan states in Article 22, “Any kind of discrimination and distinction between citizens of Afghanistan shall be forbidden.
The citizens of Afghanistan, man and woman, have equal rights and duties before the law.” Moreover, article 24 asserts, “Liberty is the natural right of human beings. This right has no limits unless affecting others freedoms as well as the public interest, which shall be regulated by law. Liberty and human dignity are inviolable.
The state shall respect and protect liberty as well as human dignity.”
Since men and women are entitled equally in the Constitution, the government should enforce the law strictly and empower women through safeguarding their rights and dignity.
It is hoped that women’s rights are not compromised at the negotiating table and gender discrimination is rooted out from the country.