“Two More Reasons Why the World Still Needs Feminists”

“Two More Reasons Why the World Still Needs Feminists”

Last week three Taliban members in Pakistan publicly flogged a teenage girl while she cried out in pain.

Yesterday approximately 300 brave Afghan women gathered in Kabul to protest a deeply misogynistic bill that was recently passed by both houses of Parliament and signed by President Karzai (it will not technically be a law until it is entered into the government’s official register).  So much for the clause in the Afghan Constitution adopted in 2004 that guarantees men and women “equal rights and duties before the law.”  The three most highly objectionable parts of this latest bill, which applies specifically to women of the nation’s Shiite minority, are the following:

(1) Unless she is physically ill, a woman must submit to her husband’s request for sex.

(2) A woman must adorn and beautify herself according to her husband’s specifications.

(3) A woman must obtain her husband’s permission to work outside the home or attend school.

The history of women’s rights in Afghanistan (like the history of history, if you will) has been far from static and linear.  In the 60’s and 70’s, Afghan women experienced far more freedoms than they did decades later under Taliban rule (1996-2001) and, sadly, also than they now do today. 

Tellingly, the bill was studied and voted on exclusively by male scholars and politicians.  As MLK, Jr. aptly asserts in “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” “A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote,
had no part in enacting or devising the law.” Just as blacks suffered from segregation laws passed by white legislators, Shiite women now are in danger of suffering from anachronistic, sexist laws proposed by their male counterparts working in conjunction with opportunistic Sunni leaders.

King also warned that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 

Any woman living in the Western world who has become complacent about her rights and freedoms, even doubtful of the need for
feminism at all, need look no further than this latest affront to Shiite Afghan women to find reason to amend her view.


Fact Box (from Afghanistan Online)

  • Every 30 minutes, an Afghan woman dies during childbirth
  • 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate
  • 30 percent of girls have access to education in Afghanistan
  • 1 in every 3 Afghan women experience physical, psychological or sexual violence
  • 44 years is the average life expectancy rate for women in Afghanistan
  • 70 to 80 percent of women face forced marriages in Afghanistan
One Response to ““Two More Reasons Why the World Still Needs Feminists””
  1. Erika says:

    I read about his last week. I take so much for granted…

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