Women in Afghanistan today
More than three decades of war have left deep scars on Afghan civil society. The fall of the Taliban was in 2001 but peace has still not fully returned to the country. After initial improvements, women’s lives have regressed again in recent years. Their everyday life has been seriously affected by the increasing influence of conservative and fundamentalist fractions in the government and the insurgents becoming stronger again.
Women in Afghanistan generally experience high levels of everyday violence and a lack of rights within their families. Added to this, pressure is currently increasing on women who stand up for their rights: many Afghan women in public positions are receiving threats and in fear of their lives. Psychosomatic illnesses, depression and even suicide are common. The country continues to have one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Four out of every five women have no say in who they are married to and more than a half of these brides are younger than 16. The majority of female prisoners are in jail because of so-called “moral crimes”: this accusation is more or less synonymous with adultery, robs the accused of almost all their rights and leads to them being branded as a “bad women”. In spite of this, an increasing number of women are making themselves heard in protest against this injustice and an Afghan women’s movement is taking shape, demanding a voice in society.