by Jasmine Davis
Although I normally focus on women filmmakers and how they stand up for women’s empowerment, today, I want to discuss something a bit different. This afternoon, I was tasked with reading the blog posts from our bloggers in Afghanistan and providing them with feedback. I wanted to share some of their stories with you. They write about topics ranging from women rights in Afghanistan to the education of women in Afghanistan and beyond. Many of our bloggers from from Afghanistan schools for girls in Herat and other provinces around the country.
For example, one blogger, Zahrra, discusses women in the media in Herat. She talks about how women are now included in radio and television media, a change from years past, when Afghan girls did not have careers and were not expected to live public lives. Another blogger, Paradise, is a hip hop and R&B singer from Afghan band 143band. She writes about meeting the Esteqlal Football Club, as well as her future career as a cosmetologist in Afghanistan.
One blog post by Ferriba explained how women driving in Afghanistan works. For many years, women were not allowed to drive in Afghanistan. Even today, women make up only about 20% of students enrolled in a local driving course, and many of these women don’t drive much after getting a license. As Ferriba points out, “Men own the roads in Afghanistan and many of them are willing to continue this way. They say it is not proper for a woman to sit behind the steering wheel of a car and this is at variance with their culture.”
Some articles cover fun topics like women in sports. This blog by Zohal explains how women in Afghanistan enjoy exercising to stay healthy, participating in activities like Taekwondo. Zohal says, “Afghan women are the same as other women in the world, and they can fulfill what they do. Hence, the number of Afghan sports women increase day by day.”
Other topics, however, are more heartbreaking. A blog post from Ezzar explains how, at the age of 15, she had to drop out of school to get married. When her first daughter was just one month old, she and her husband had to leave the country to go to Iran after war broke out in Afghanistan. They spent seven days on the road just to get there. Read her entire blog post to learn more about her story.
Although all these bloggers come from Afghanistan, they each have different stories to tell. I know I write about the Afghan Development Project a lot, but this is why. Every single post I read today taught me a little bit more about culture, people and education in Afghanistan. Just like anywhere else, women from Afghanistan have diverse and interesting stories to share. I encourage you to read their stories on comment on them. By creating connections between women around the globe, we can advance women’s empowerment together.