Thesis: The treatment of Afghan women

Sample Thesis Paper

The family is generally held as the “single most important institution in Afghan society” (Dupree, 2002, p. 978). From this orientation perspective, a range of cultural expectations and values are depended. Dupree (2002) linked Afghanistan’s long-established patriarchy to maintaining and preserving these values, and the belief that women are the standard-bearers of morality. The dictates of proper behavior, dignity and comportment are considered critical to women’s position in society and are perceived as a direct reflection on the honor of all male family members. In order to preserve female dignity and honor, Afghan culture has — with only brief periods of exception to this tradition in its long history — maintained separate working, living and social areas for women and men. As Barakat and Wardell (2002) wrote “discrimination against Afghan women did not appear with the advent of the Taliban regime” (p. 910).

However, under the Taliban regime, the treatment of Afghan women took an especially brutal turn. The strict enforcement of the Taliban’s version of Sharia Law drastically curtailed women’s movement in every aspect of life (Ball, 2008; Hoodfar, 2007; Roshan, 2004). Education of women was virtually forbidden (Qahir & Kirk, 2007), health care was restricted (Chowdhury, Alam & Ahmed, 2006), and women were not allowed to venture outside their homes without male accompaniment which, as Miller et al. (2006) viewed was devastating for widowed women who lacks income or a male relative to escort them everywhere. The penalty for violating Sharia law ranged from public beatings, to imprisonment, torture and even execution.

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