Women, Weddings, and War: The Society of Afghan Women- Past, Present, and Future.

The history of women’s rights in Afghanistan is deeply rooted in political hierarchal and moral terriorism. Women in Afghanistan have been persecuted for centuries, even before the Taliban rule. Women were subjected to gender roles inclusive of arranged marriages, covered manes, and limited political freedom. Afghanistan is one of the few countries that still practice societal oppression on women. Currently, afghan women still are subjugated in acts of war and terriosim, are victims of political assimilations for refusing to marry sutures approved by their father, and are targets of random acts of sexual abuse. It is important to the note the history of women’s rights and social pressure in Afghanistan at different points in afghan’s history. A few turning points in women’s history in afghanstian were:

January 1, 1921 Amunallah Khan’s wife, Queen Soraya, opens Afghanistan’s first school for girls in Kabul. During the early 1920s, she also starts a women’s hospital and a magazine called ERshad-E-Niswan (Guidance for Women).
Jan 1, 1978 The PDPA takes over the government, resulting in further social reforms including separation of religion and government, banning burquas and raising the minimum age of marriage.
Oct. 1, 1924 Khan grants women the right to choose their husbands, something previously decided by male relatives.
Oct. 1, 1978 A decree from the PDPA-controlled government requires education for girls, abolishes walwar and sets the legal age for marriage at 16.
June 2, 2010 Over 1,600 tribal leaders and community activists meet to discuss the peace process. President Karzai proposes economic incentives to discourage Taliban members from fighting. Many women’s groups are outraged at the idea of negotiations with the Taliban that could leave women’s rights vulnerable.
Oct. 3, 2011 At the ten year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion, 2.7 million girls are in school, compared to just a few thousand in Taliban times, according to an Oxfam report. But those improvements are already slipping and could be lost in negotiations with the Taliban, the report warns. Another report marking the anniversary, by Action Aid, says that 72 percent of Afghan women believe their lives are better now than 10 years ago, while 86 percent fear a return to Taliban rule.

Source: Timeline of Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

The most impressive of these climactic points in history is the milestone reached by Afghan government and the U.S presence in that country. Even though Taliban forces still lurk and cause great desperation among the women population, the Afghan society find hope in American forces establishing a democratic system of , religion, and social moral. However, women living in Afghan are continuous victims of oppression and are always trying to overcome the conservative and restrictive limitation set forth by family morals, politics, and society.

A documentary examining the rights of women in Afghanstan as well as how women have played a role in the War on Terrorisim. This documentary can be found on PBS and you can also view part of the documentary here.


Misogynistic Military: Gender Bias and The Role of Women in the United States Armed Forces.

What a break! Hope everyone had the chance to relax, reflect, and relieve their selves of unwanted negative vibes. Back from Spring break with full-gear; ready for the end of the semester to quickly make its way home. In the mean time, I want to share with you all my excitement!

For those of you who know and those of you who are hearing this for the first time; my husband leaves to the Navy in September and I will officially have my own reality show! Well, maybe not my own reality show, but I will have to take on sort of a different role. I am excited and scared at the same time, yet I still cant wait to assume my duties as a Sailor’s wife! I have a cousin in the Marines and I am really excited about his tour as well!

This new found journey has led to me to further educate myself on military culture. What interest me the most is not the men in uniforms screaming “Hoo-Rah!” at the top of their lungs, but the role that women play in the armed forces of the United States.

Just to give you a little history, as per the Ground Combat Exclusion Policy of the United States Armed Forces in 1994 declared that women are to be excluded from operations that directly involve ground combat. Even as of the revisions realeased in February of 2012, women are still not allowed to occupy over 230,000 military jobs that are related to combat or serve in special operation forces. After brief, yet thorough research, women face several oppressive factors.

In the armed forces, women are subjective to:

1. Sexual Abuse– According to Helen Benedict, a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and author of the book The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq, 1 in 3 women in the U.S. military is raped by another service member.

2- Physical Ability Demise to their Male Counterparts- As set forth in the armed forces physical training examinations for certain military branches.

3. Gender Bias in Military Combat Roles- This is outline in the Ground Combat Exclusion Policy.

These three key points are invaluable in realizing where women stand in their service to their country. It is absolutely, and by far the most disturbing information I’ve heard about the military thus far, that women who proudly and courageously serve their country are subject to random acts of sexual abuse. There is no God given right for men to engage in such heinous acts of degradation towards the women that form part of their brotherhood.

Spc. Crisma Albarran detaches an ammunition case from its mount after a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flight over Iraq, March 14, 2010. Albarran with Task Force 38's B Company, 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, volunteered for the job as door gunner prior to her second deployment to Iraq, and has flown more than 100 hours toward her door gunner certification. During her first Iraqi deployment in 2007 she was a petroleum supply specialist with the 3rd Infantry Division.

Also, the idea that females are less physical fit and able to engage in combat situations in comparison to their male counterparts is also subjective. Not to mention that women are evaluated by an exogenous pool of men during their physical and basic combat training. Corporal Kelly Dowlan writes in a blog post stating that, “Regardless of these factors, the sad fact is that women continue to be undervalued in the military because it is a predominantly male organization that prizes characteristics that many see as inherently masculine”. Which leads to the idea behind the gendered bias roles of women that are excluded from combat occupations. A predominantly male dominated organization has left no room for marginalized error; women in combat situations is an accident waiting to happen. Or is it the faint misunderstanding and underpinning of the female race, by men who so ignorantly cannot accept that women can perform as warriors in wars, as do their male members? To help sculpt your idea check out a fellow bloggers idea of women in the military, visit Joyce’s Worldand see what her thoughts are behind this issue.


Cloaked Websites- What Websites Have Hidden Agendas

Hellooooooooooooo Again!

The weather has been amazing thus far, and I welcomed Spring yesterday with open arms and open-toed shoes…lol! As you all know, this blog is dedicated to women’s reproductive and social justice, however, from time to time I want to mix it up a little, still keeping a fashionable ensemble of information!

I probably neglected to mention that I am a Senior in the Community Health program at Hunter College and am taking a class on social media and health. And for today’s class I was asked to complete a reading on ‘Clocked Websites’. I was extremely excited to read it anyways because my very-own professor is the author of the journal and it was interesting to me to get to learn more about her writing style and her way of expression, which is an intellectual cascade of expression I might add.

The article by Dr. Jessie Daniels, Clocked Websites:propaganda, cyber-racism and epistemology in the digital era, opens the eyes of even the most  savvy of internet veterans with this idea of’ hidden political agendas.’ I know, that’s exactly why I thought, what the hell does it mean to have a hidden political agenda on a clocked website?

I’d considered my internet skills to be pretty advanced and my digital use and social networking talent to be sufficient, however, I have never heard about this idea. As I continued to read the article, Dr. Daniels explains that clocked websites are used for propaganda and cyber-racism because websites use difficult-to-detect authorship and hidden agendas intended to accomplish political goals, including white supremacy (Daniels, 2009). My interpretation of this idea is that websites often times deliver messages through creative presentations false analysis of evidence that often times portray an idea, concept, or belief that is hidden. This hidden idea, concept or belief is often skewed, racist, and politically biased to get the surfer to agree with their agenda.

Dr. Daniels uses obvious political websites to make the case, but what is interesting from her analysis, is that political and corporate websites are not the only websites with hidden agendas.

According to Dr. Daniels analysis, the ‘Teen Breaks’ site is disguised for pro-life propaganda (Daniels, 2009). The site is appealing in a sense, however, what caught my attention was the statement of abortion. The site mentions that ‘abortion is permanent and there is no turning back’ – this is clearly a ‘pro-life’ statement with the intentions of scarring and demoralizing the ability to choose. Now, the issue I have with this is that teens who are in fact pregnant and look to the internet for resources on teen pregnancy can read a statement like this and be even more confused, terrified, and alone than ever. Dr. Daniels also goes on to write that this same site support the notion that there are many negative physical and emotional consequences of abortion that form a so-called ‘post-abortion syndrome’ (Daniels, 2009). After viewing this portion of the site, I felt as if they were pressuring teens into believing that abortion is wrong and the abortion is frowned upon. This website did so much as to create a medical aliment of ‘post-abortion’ , which by the way is not medically recognized, but rather a rhetorical strategy of the pro-life movement to advance its agenda (Daniels, 2009).

As an educator, I would never refer my patients to this website for information about teen pregnancy or anything to do with sexual or reproductive health. It is absurd what some organizations would do to hide their biases and carry out their agendas according to what they see is politically correct.

If you are interested in reading more on Cloaked Sites by Dr. Jessie Daniels visit her blog, Racism Review.

Law allows Rapist to Marry Victim- Activists call for Justice!

This week I learned that a 16-yr old girl who was forced to marry her rapist had committed suicide jut after 3-months of marriage. Reading the news articles posted on the internet about this tragedy made me realize the culture boundaries that still exist today impeding social equality for women. The unfortunate situation of Amina Filali proves that government can continue to rule over the woman and create a systematic oppression that is practiced in society as the norm of women culture. Is it okay for a 16-year old to wed her rapist for the sake of preserving a families societal standing? In this case, culture, values, and religious beliefs outweigh the moral, humanistic, and civil rights of the victim.

According to the law, justice is achieved through the marital union of the victim and the rapist. The crime is not the dishonor or moral degradation of the victim, it is the forcible act of rape. The punishment is no longer the burden of the criminal nor the burden of the family, but of the victim. Is there justice in that? Is there an equal or fair trial for the victim or does government and societal norms dictate a woman’s right to equality?

To start this discussion, view the video below by the YOUNGTURKS and let me know your feelings on this issue.


At it Again!- Congress Upheaval Towards Controlling Reproductive Health Rights (Oklahoma)

Hello Girls!

Hope you all had a great week and for those of you who were able to look at the current events in the NY Times, the act of hate on woman’s reproductive health rights continues to sprawl.

Thanks to a classmate of mine who was so kind enough to send me a blog on iReport for CNN, I was able to see the reaction of many women to the new person-hood anti-abortion legislation that was recently passed by the Oklahoma Senate.

What does the new legislation mean for Oklahoma women? It means three basic words; restriction, limitations, and violation. Under this new legislation women are restricted and limited in their access to certain reproductive health services such as birth control options, abortions, and emergency contraception. This law also threatens to affect access to other critical women health services.

After reading a blog post from Pamela Haag from HuffPost, Birth Control Isn’t Really About “Women’s Health.” It’s About…, I was able to formulate two very intrinsic questions; 1. What exactly is the definition of choice? and 2. What exactly is society’s definition of ‘abortion culture’?

Please take the time out to share your thoughts on this issue as well comment on the questions I have posted.

Before I go I wanted to share some insightful words from a good friend of mine who is a health educator (No name provided for confidential reasons) at a Bronx High School and she said “Really? An egg is a person? Do you know that people [abortion doctors] die for that shit? Really a fu*@#$! blob of cells? That is not a person, that thing cannot be able to support its self outside the woman’s body. When that ‘thing’ is able to survive and live on it owns, then it’s considered a person!” -my she friend!

Good Night and remember you don’t have to be a feminist to speak against those who violate your rights!

Be Free to Choose Birth Control- Obama’s New Mandate Shift.

Hello Girlies! Hope you all had an amazing week and are looking forward to a very relaxing, yet proactive weekend. Now, remember all the commotion are Obama’s new birth control law requiring religious institutions who have insurance to offer birth … Continue reading