Women’s Lives in Afghanistan worse now than under Taliban
Louise Livesey // 25 February 2008
According to a new report women’s lives have become significantly worse since the Allied Forces invasion of Afghanistan than they were before.
The ongoing war and consequent rise in poverty is leading to greater numbers of families selling their daughters, some as young as six years old, into “forced marriages” which are little more than sexual slavery by multiple male members of a different family. Despite a ban on “buying or exchanging” girls this still happens as solutions to debt, disputes or restitution for crimes. The current bride price is £800-£2000 leading to sisters being swapped to allow male children to marry. Illiteracy is rising as girls are prohibited from going to school (only 5% of girls are in secondary education and 88% of women are illiterate) after “marriage” as are suicide rates and self-harm amongst those girls affected. 57% of brides are now under 16 years old despite laws outlawing child marriages. 60% of marriages are now forced marriages, 87% of women report domestic violence, 50% of that violence is sexual. Maternal mortality runs at 1 in 9, matching Sierra Leone’s appalling record, and there are one million war widows with no rights left to fend for themselves through any means possible including begging and prostitution.
Afghanistan is the only country in the world with a higher suicide rate among women than men.
From The Independent
NGOs have pointed to the fact that NATO failed to treat women’s rights as a priority despite the fact that decades of experience has shown this to be a highly effective method of helping a country after war. Womankind, the international Women’s charity is calling for the implementation of a UN resolution which enforces protection for women in conflict zones.