Sofia Ramyar

Sofia Ramyar, is 22 years old and from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has had good achievements in the past ten years in different areas, such as education, economics, agriculture, and telecommunications. There has been a positive change for women in education. According to the ministry of education of Afghanistan, in 2001 and 2002 we had less than one million students and we had 20,000 teachers, 100% of which were males. We did not have female students or teachers.  Now, there is a significant increase in the number of female students and teachers.

A family’s social position depends on the behavior of its female member. Raising and nurturing children are important tasks for women. Women have influence over their husbands, children and men not in her family but in society.  Women’s work varies from the city to rural areas. In the city there are many women who work in private and government sectors while among most settled rural families, women participate in agricultural work, and are responsible for the production of milk products. Some specialize in handicrafts, such as carpets.

The threats against women include: bombing of schools for girls, killing of female teachers and police officers. The southern and eastern provinces in the country are strongly influenced by different insurgent groups, such as the Taliban, kidnappers and other groups. Killing local women who are working as professionals for the Afghan government or as leaders of women’s networks in the provinces, and kidnapping of kids, are big threats not only in rural areas but also in cities for families. Sometimes threats and violence have been imposed on their husbands, too.

The citizens of Afghanistan, men and women, have equal rights.  Afghan women have a universal human right, like men, to education and work. So far, their rights have not been implemented in Taliban-dominated areas of the country. After the Taliban regime, it became normal for women to work outside the house, particularly in Kabul. Still there are many opposing ideas towards women working outside the house. . In most parts of the country, men cannot tolerate seeing a woman working alongside him in the same place. Due to religious and cultural misperceptions, some traditionalist Afghans believes that women are supposed to stay at home to do the house chores and raise their children. Most people think that a woman working outside is against Islamic principles.

Women, in general, face different challenges in many urban areas than similarly situated men do. They lack access to resources, education, healthcare, etc. Women are confronted with more very specific hardships than men. There are many ways we can help them to promote their futures, for example, we should promote women’s access to healthcare and social services and provide them with good educational environments. We should promote rural women’s human rights and effective access to all opportunities, and research and collect data about the situation of urban women and girls. We must demand gender equality in every aspect of life and support the full participation of women in the community and in decision- making.

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