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Women’s Abortion and Education Rights Progress in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is well-known as being a traditionally oppressive country as far as women’s rights are concerned. This holds true for abortion access, health care, and girls’ education. Their rights to abortion services are under scrutiny by their male counterparts. Women are discouraged from making decisions regarding abortion, and men take on the role of making decisions regarding health matters.

But with new progress being made every day, a record number of girls and women are attending school.

Almost 4 million girls are now in school in Afghanistan – which remains a record high for the country. Women are now taking traditionally male positions like police officers, pilots, judges, and governors. All thanks to the Constitution which guarantees women’s equality before the law.

Education is an important step in the progress of women’s rights in every country. It’s a path towards general success for the future. The biggest success though, is that “girls are being supported by their families” says Manizha Naderi, the executive director of Women for Afghan Women. “People’s mindsets have changed.”

Under the rule of the Taliban government, women were forbidden from working, and even leaving the home without male relatives present. The oppression of women caused more than 80% of women in jails to be imprisoned for so called “moral crimes” such as leaving an abusive husband.

Since women’s rights in Afghanistan have become more of a focus, maternal mortality rates have dropped significantly from 49.4 percent in 2000. Overall, women’s life expectancy has increased and women are even outliving men by an average of three years.

“Seeing where we came from, it’s a totally different country” Naderi says.