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    126289

    Principles and practice: gender relations in Afghanistan.

    LINKS. 1997 Jun; 1-2.

    Under the Taliban, which took control of Kabul in Afghanistan in October 1996, Shari's law has been interpreted strictly; women cannot work outside the home, cannot be educated, and must wear the burkha. Professional and educated women have moved to Pakistan. According to United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 1995 figures, the literacy rate among women is 15%; among men it is 45%. This will only worsen if the education of girls is banned. International nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) report that interpretation of the law varies with district; girls under 10 years of age can attend school in some areas, and some Taliban commanders are more liberal than others. The 30,000 households headed by women will fall into poverty if the women cannot work and have no other means of support. Women's relationships outside the home will be determined entirely by men. Gender roles will change because men will now have to take over jobs women formerly performed outside the home: taking children to clinics, shopping, and collecting water. Women's support groups will collapse because visiting will be difficult and hospitality will be too expensive. International agencies have distributed food and provided work to women in their homes; men are used to communicate with the women. This has been done at risk. Oxfam UK/I, which cannot deliver quality humanitarian aid without working with both women and men, will attempt, through a witnessing and influencing strategy, to persuade the Taliban to become more moderate.
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