Thoughts from the Bamiyan Workshop: Gender Discrimination


Editor’s note: The Bamiyan writers group wrote their thoughts about gender and violence against women during an AWWP workshop this week for the Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign.

In our homeland there is a lot of violence against women. When a woman walks in the street or bazaar men laugh at her and harass her with their eyes. Women must wear clothing to hide from men. They cannot wear the clothes they want. This is a type of violence that women and girls face every day in Afghanistan.

By Jamila Q.

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It is violence when my father says that I am young and I am not allowed to go to school. It is violence that my friends and I must be silent in the corner when we attend a party. It is violence that I cannot laugh when I want because no one should see me smile or hear my laughter.

By Fatima Ha.

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I faced violence when I was born and all the people said “Oh, she a girl.” Why should I face this when I am human and I live in an Islamic society? Islam says everyone is born in freedom and will die in freedom. When a father lets his son go to school but not his daughter, it is violence. When the mother cannot be allowed to make a decision or be part of the decision-making, it is violence. When people spread rumors about a girl and she can do nothing to prove it a lie, it is violence. I am a girl who may face all such examples of violence in our society.

By Basira H.

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Violence means to exclude someone from her rights. Violence means to beat someone and make her disabled. Violence means forcing someone to do something that we want. It says in the holy Quran that humans all are born free and will die free. So we cannot commit violence on anyone.

By Amina H.

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Every day we hear about violence against women in our society. When we make a decision about someone without telling her and she does not want it, this is violence. Mostly it is parents who commit this kind of violence when they want to engage their son or daughter.

By Husnia

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If we look at Afghan families, most of them do not have good relations among each other. If we look at a family whose son is newly married, we see how all decisions are made by the boy’s parents and sisters. The bride who wished for a good future and home for herself and her husband have no role in the decision making in the home. Sometimes all the housework must be done by the bride with no help and if something is done wrong, the family of the boy can beat her.

By Monina

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Violence is not permitted in Islam, but we can see violence every day in our society. Most victims are women and no one pays attention. Most families do not have good relationships or communication among each other. The father is the king of the family. If the man is not working, for example he can force the women to work and take their earnings to buy drugs for himself. I have seen this kind of violence in our society.

By Mina Q.


  1. Very important statements of truth! Thank you Mina, Monina, Husnia, Amina, Basira, Fatima, and Jamila for coming together, speaking together, learning together, and sharing together as you did. Stacy

  2. This is so basic and simple, and yet, it has made me see things in a slightly different way. With your broader definitions of what defines violence, I now see that harsh and brutal acts, physical ones, are not the only acts of violence. The very way girls are treated from birth in this culture, as though they are evil, is a violence.

    Thank you for these insights!

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