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Dec-24-2013 22:08printcomments

Afghan Men Now See Women as a Challenge, Says Farkhunda Zahra Naderi

"Our democracy is very fresh and fragile and people are critical of it. But I tell them, you have the power to change the status quo." - Farkhunda Zahra Naderi

Salem-News.com's Tim King interviews Malalai Joya
Salem-News.com's Tim King interviews Malalai Joya, who had recently served as Afghanistan's only female in Parliament. Photo by Dexter Phoenix

(KABUL) - Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, member of the National Assembly of Afghanistan, has unveiled a few myths about the oppressed Afghan women.

Farkhunda Zahra Naderi

While speaking during a round table organized by Asia Society, Farkhunda Zahra Naderi said that women were venturing out of the houses despite being war in the country.

Ms. Naderi said, in fact, the focus on women’s rights had changed the Afghan women to the extent that men, used to decades of superiority, were seeing them as a challenge.

She said, men wouldn’t take women seriously. Now, they feared women’s empowerment so much that they got together in July to decrease the 25 per cent quota for women in Parliament, guaranteed by the 2004 Constitution.

“We forgot that the struggle for empowerment has to be done with men. Otherwise there won’t be any common language in families between men and women. Creating borders between the sexes results in more violence in the family and in the community. We have to get more men in our fight. In Parliament too, we have to get them to raise women’s issues,” Naderi quoted by Mumbai Mirror said.

She also insisted for the need to have school students learn about women’s rights, so that boys wouldn’t grow up to feel superior, to keep a watch on their sisters and then to kill them for ‘honour’.

In the meantime, she recommended that a woman should be appointed to the Supremem Court, in a bid to grant a real power for the women. “If a woman got in – and there are qualified and experienced women – she could interpret every law from her perspective. Currently, male jurists can deem any law on women’s rights unIslamic,” she said.


Naderi also emphasized on the importance of elections that would allow the presence of girls in school and of women in politics. “There is no substitute for an election. Only an election will give hope and power to our people. There is fear, but if we make security an excuse, it only helps those who have wielded power so far,” she said.

In the meantime, she warned that fear and a lack of interest may prevent people from voting. “Our democracy is very fresh and fragile and people are critical of it. But I tell them, you have the power to change the status quo. If you don’t, you will be giving power to those who will take you 12 years back. I especially tell the women they must come out and vote so that their children don’t suffer like they did.”

Naderi also pointed towards the euphoria which was achieved following the victory of the Afghan football team in South Asian Football Federation Championship back in September and said, “People had never felt as much joy. Looking at the crowds, I felt we as politicians had failed. This young football team had done what we could not. You could see women on the street celebrating. It was like Independence Day.

“That day, all boundaries were destroyed. Normally in a crowd, you fear the inevitable suicide bomber. But that day even women became part of the crowd without fear, they were so happy. That’s how it should be on an election day,” Naderi said.

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