Two women are running for the post of Afghanistan’s President in the elections to be held on August 20. They announced their decision and plastered the walls with their pictures.
We know that the Taliban would most certainly not appreciate this. It will be interesting to see how the US government handles this. Besides the sound bytes that will come from trained mouths and a few statements about ‘women’s empowerment’, the US will make sure that Hamid Karzai continues to wear the gilded crown of thorns.
Frozan Fana is an orthopaedic surgeon.
Shahla Ata is a lawyer. She talks about “male cronyism and corruption” and says, “The people of Afghanistan are sick of this. Billions of dollars have been wasted. My grandchildren will get old before Karzai changes this, so the women should bring change.”
Interestingly, although both do not cover their face, which is considered mandatory, they have not mentioned religion as a constricting force.
An Associated Press report states that not all women support them:
- The Movement of Afghan Sisters, a voting bloc of 16,000 women, backs Ashraf Ghani, a man who is also a long-shot but seems stronger on women’s rights, said Homaira Haqmal, the group’s founder. “Many of the female MPs today came through warlords or the political machine. They aren’t free to speak and they aren’t decision makers.”
Before we jump in to mutter, “Ah, I told you so,” think about all those more developed societies where women are merely flaunted as trophies and much effort is expended on what they wear and how they conduct themselves rather than any active part they take in the political process. Think about how Sarah Palin was ridiculed. Think about Aung San Suu Ki’s dilemma. Think about the cop-out of Hillary Clinton. Think about just how many women in decision-making posts are there among the big countries – US, UK, Germany, France, China, even Russia...
And if the report wants to get florid about Ms. Ata by informing the reader that she “wears bright pink nail polish, highlights her eyes with glitter”, then think about Madeleine Albright who said there was always makeup to fix high-powered exhaustion.