Imagine what it would be like if you could only leave your home completely covered from head to toe, with only your eyes showing. Imagine what it would be like to only be allowed to leave home accompanied by a male relative. Imagine what it would it wourl be like to live in a country where only the boys are educated, but their education consists of learning religious laws and the rules of a ruthless government.
For women in Afghanistan, this experience was part of daily existence. Before the Taliban regime took control of this country, women worked and were educated; however, the Taliban came to power and forbade women of these luxuries, giving men priority. Many people protested this unfair regime, but they could not beat this tough force. Kabul’s stadium became a public execution ground for people who dared protest the stringent laws of the Taliban.
Since the Taliban rule of Afghanistan ended, life has slowly begun to improve for all citizens, including women. Some women have begun going back to work, girls are going back to school, and women can go outside of their homes alone, wearing what they choose. Since the fall of the Taliban, women have been free to shed the burka, but only a small amount of women actually do so.
In June 2000, as a response to Taliban oppression, a group of Afghan women from around the world and representatives from several countries including Algeria, France, Spain, and the United States met at the Conference of Women in Afghanistan; there, they came up with the Declaration of Essential Rights of Afghan Women. The document is still in draft form, but many Afghan women hope it will soon be adopted by the new government of Afghanistan. The main points established by the Declaration are listed below:
- The right to equality between men and women and the elimination of discrimination based on gender, race, or religion.
- The right to personal safety and to freedom from torture or inhumane or degrading treatment.
- The right to equal protection under the law
- The right to favorable conditions at work and school
- The right to wear or not to wear the burka or the scarf.
- The right to participate in cultural activities including theater, music, and sports.
ASSIGNMENT: You have been selected to attend the conference as a representative from Afghanistan. It is your duty to write a letter to the government, convincing them of the necessity of adopting this proposal. In your letter, explain what life was like under the Taliban, and why change is essential. You should present convincing evidence of why the system needs to change.
Each letter should be addressed to the president of Afghanistan. The letter should consist of five paragraphs, including introduction and conclusion. Paragraphs must consist of 4-5 sentences. Sign your name at the bottom of the letter. WRITE ON THE FRONT-SIDE ONLY!