Editor’s note: Yesterday (December 6, 2013), the Kabul Writers Group marked the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign with a workshop on forms of gender discrimination. Here are some of their stories.
When I was in 11th grade in school, a girl who was very intelligent got married. It was during final exams and her husband did not allow her to go to school. He told her that she cannot take exams or go to school because she is a woman and studies are not good for girls. She was disappointed and very sad that this happened to her life. She could not say anything and she had no choice. This is gender discrimination, not letting women to study.
By Muzghan A.
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I am a girl born to an uneducated family. I wanted to attend school and my father was agreeable to sending me to school, but my mother was not. She said, “If you go to school you will not be able to learn how to cook or wash the clothes when you go to your husband ‘s house.” Every day I cried and finally I went to school, but my mom still is not happy with me getting an education. She wants me to be a servant at the house. But she forces my brother to study. She says that they can take care of us in future, when girls go to live in their husband’s home.
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One day after my course, when I came to the bus unfortunately I was the only girl. All the people on the bus were men. There was no empty seat for me, but there was a double seat where one man was sitting. I said to him, “Would you mind if I sat on this seat and you stand, because they are all men and they look at my body so I feel ashamed.” He said “No.” I felt shamed and I asked the bus driver to stop the bus. I got off and I walked home crying because it was a very long way and no one to help me. This happened to me because I am a girl born in Afghanistan.
By Mahbooba I.
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Once on an airline trip to Kabul the airline said anyone who checks in first will get a good seat near the window. I was the first person in the airplane so this would give me the best seat on the plane. A man then said to me that he wanted my seat near the window. He told me, “I am a man and I should sit in front of everyone. I don’t want any women in front of me.” The flight attendant came and explained the rules of the airplane to the man. He would not agree, and I did not accept the man’s words and I stayed in my seat until the end. It was the worst flight. I hope one day these differences between men and women will end and we may have our equal rights.
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I used to go to a social center for a mathematics course. I was the only girl in a class of boys. One day the course manager was looking for someone to be the announcer for the Teacher’s Day program so I went to the office and asked if I could be the announcer. He said to me, “Do you have any experience in announcing a program?” I answered, “I am always an announcer in my school programs.” Then he said, “You cannot be the announcer because all participants will be men and boys and they will disturb you.” I hope that one day the gender gap ends.
Photographs by Seeta.