What is it like to be a woman in Afghanistan?

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In 2001, very few girls were allowed education in Afghanistan. Now, about 40% of girls receive education. Health, jobs and opportunity have also greatly improved, yet so many obstacles remain. Under the Taliban, women could not be educated to become doctors and men were not allowed to be gynecologists nor help with the birthing process. As a result, Afghanistan has some of the worst infant and maternal mortality rates in the world.

But things are changing for Afghan women. Did you know Morning Star is training men and women to become doctors of family medicine? Both girls and boys are learning computer skills in our rural community centers. Twice as many girls are enrolled in our math classes than boys. Even our Institutes for Leadership Development (ILD) enrollment is moving to be almost 50% women.

During an ILD class on culture and leadership one of the Afghan men remarked to the female instructor, “In our tradition, we don’t talk about our wives and daughters publically...we want to protect them.” Immediately, one of the young women in the class spoke up, “Yes, we know this is the tradition, but we want to be known. We want our names to be spoken, we want to be human.”

In some places, empowering women is used to increase political gain. This is not the case for Morning Star. When we read to our Afghan friends that “God created both male & female in His Image,” the women’s eyes light up. For the first time, they hear their value is God-given, not culturally mandated. When anyone who is oppressed hears that they are loved by God and that he created them for a purpose, they rejoice.

Thank you for the opportunity to empower a generation of women and men in a new way of thinking, living, perceiving life and one another. You are making an eternal difference.