What’s the Most Dangerous Country in the World to Be Female? I Know Firsthand
In the middle east we simply can not fix epic cultural and religious struggles in a larger world context. We can’t nation build. We can’t administrate elections. We can and do make profound efforts to help. Humanitarian efforts that we can be proud of. We can witness and perhaps help hold off certain threats. but there of course lies that slippery slope, mission creep. No fly zones, thousands of above board advisors and of course “advisors” that we may not witness at all. There may be someone out there that can. It’s just not us.
ABUL, AFGHANISTAN — I was born in Kabul, raised in Pakistan and returned home after the fall of the Taliban to work in what is now the most dangerous country in the world to be female.
My parents’ generation had much more freedom than I and the other girls in my family did, and the downward trend continues. Young girls today are even more limited in their choices than I was. In Afghanistan, 60% of us are forcibly married by age 16. Only 15% of our girls are educated, and fatwas have been issued in some regions banning girls from going to school at all. Women and girls are punished for any “immoral act” that “brings shame” to the family, including elopement or perceived sexual misconduct. Acid attacks, stoning, rape and murder are all deemed acceptable punishments when a man’s “honor” has been threatened.
Invasions by Russia and the United States, alongside the ever-present threat of the Taliban and other groups, has meant that Afghan girls and women are in danger both inside and outside our homes. And the situation is only getting worse. Women who try to change the system by entering politics are particularly at risk of being targeted with violence. There is almost nowhere safe for us to go, and when we try to make things better, we put our lives at risk.