By Sally L Kitch
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Extra info for Contested Terrain: Reflections with Afghan Women Leaders
Is your knowledge and your economy. Because you don’t worry if you are married or not. . ” Marzia was also concerned that Afghan women do not believe they should stand up for themselves. . . . [or] the economy” to oppose that opinion. Without economic empowerment, education, and gender sensitization—for both men and women—Marzia thought women would mostly be left out of social reconstruction. Even in her unusual position, Marzia had encountered the very attitudes that she believed would prevent women from assuming true leadership in Afghan society.
Because these women were comfortable in the international arena, they were especially cheered by foreigners’ interest in Afghan women’s situation, despite the obvious blunders by foreign powers that had hampered true progress. The conference began with sessions that addressed what the leaders in the room thought life was really like for ordinary Afghan women and how they as activists were trying to address those women’s needs. All attendees spoke to that question from the perspective of their own work and interests, yet there was a surprising level of agreement among them.
There was a shortage of professional teachers, especially female teachers. Most important for girls was the difficulty of getting family members to allow their education. The girls were still getting married at early ages. ” One example? Where to build schools in the first place. Jamila also emphasized that education is only the beginning of social reconstruction in Afghanistan. Afghan women also had health and security problems, economic problems, and social participation problems. Even more depressing to her were the killings of women who were working outside of their homes.