February 29, 2012 / Opportunity, Safety

The Worst Place In The World


The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and not necessarily those of The New Agenda.

With the riots continuing to rage on in Afghanistan, I couldn’t help but think how women were faring in Afghanistan these days. And the short answer would be, not well. In fact, Afghanistan is the worst place in the world for women. Yikes.

Honestly, I am not really surprised to learn that is the case. It was only 2 1/2 years ago that Afghanistan passed a law that affects women in ways that are difficult to conceive of in the 21st century. Here are some of the highlights, er, make that lowlights:

[snip] The new final draft of the legislation also grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work.
“It also effectively allows a rapist to avoid prosecution by paying ‘blood money’ to a girl who was injured when he raped her,” the US charity Human Rights Watch said.

Islamic law experts and human rights activists say that although the language of the original law has been changed, many of the provisions that alarmed women’s rights groups remain, including this one: “Tamkeen is the readiness of the wife to submit to her husband’s reasonable sexual enjoyment, and her prohibition from going out of the house, except in extreme circumstances, without her husband’s permission. If any of the above provisions are not followed by the wife she is considered disobedient.”(Photo credit:Sung Nam Hoon, Kabul.)

Like I said, it is just unthinkable that women, in this day and age, are being forced to live under this kind of oppression. That rape can be brushed aside with money, or that the husband can essentially force his wife to satisfy his “needs” whenever he damn well pleases, are concepts that are anathema to us.

Even more than how women are treated in their homes, is how they are being used by the powers-that-be:

[snip] Brad Adams, the organisation’s Asia director (Human Rights Watch), said: “The rights of Afghan women are being ripped up by powerful men who are using women as pawns in manoeuvres to gain power.

“These kinds of barbaric laws were supposed to have been relegated to the past with the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, yet Karzai has revived them and given them his official stamp of approval.” (Click here to read the rest.)

Sadly, these “barbaric laws” are all too real for the women of Afghanistan. And there seems to be no end in sight for the day-to-day difficulties under which these women live.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what countries round out the Top Five Worst Countries For Women, they are:

[snip] The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Pakistan, India and Somalia feature in descending order after Afghanistan in the list of the five worst states, the poll among gender experts shows.

It was a surprise that India ended up in the top five:

[snip]The appearance of India, a country rapidly developing into an economic super-power, was unexpected. It is ranked as extremely hazardous because of the subcontinent’s high level of female infanticide and sex trafficking.[snip]

Yep, that would do it alright. It is hard to believe that India is in the Top 5, but with these two horrendous activities common in the country, their place is well deserved.

The article goes on to detail why the other 3, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are also in the Top Five, and I encourage you to read the entire article.

One thing this article, and the one detailing the new law in Afghanistan, make clear is that we have a long, long way to go before women achieve anywhere close to equality throughout the world. Whether we write our State Department pushing them to do more for these women, or support Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, or other organizations near and dear to our hearts to further the rights of women around the globe, one thing is clear: we must do something. Our sisters need us.

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