“These people use Sharia and Islam as an instrument to weaken women’s rights,” says lawmaker [Shinkai] Karokhel.
“In no country in the world can you find spiritual leaders holding such power over a parliament,” says [MP Fatima] Narzari.
Using religion to consolidate your power and oppressing women to control society? These warlord MPs are so original.
Whenever lawmaker Fatima Nazari rose to speak, she says the parliament’s chair snubbed her. Whenever one of her female colleagues made a suggestion, it was brushed aside.
…So Nazari, who represents Kabul province, and almost all other female Afghan MPs banded together and proposed a resolution, asking parliament’s leadership to stop the discrimination. It was ignored.
Female lawmakers say that they are still largely excluded from the political process in Afghanistan, where widespread religious fundamentalism and deep-seated cultural conservatism still pose big challenges to women’s advancement.
…Due to strong international pressure, Afghanistan has one of the highest percentages of female lawmakers in the world. The Afghan constitution mandates that two seats in every province be set aside for women, meaning that 64 of the 249 lawmakers, or more than a quarter, are female.
I am impressed with these women, who surely are at some personal risk for daring to speak out against warlords and religious extremists. I hope that over time, by supporting one another and banding together against the misogynist MPs, they are able to gain a louder voice and get some of the tasks done that they deem important. Read the rest at Anand Gopal Global Dispatches