WGS AfghanistanGender Readings Unit5

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    HISD Social Studies Curriculum 2017   World Geography Studies Articles #2, 3 and 4  –  Afghanistan and Gender #2 In Afghanistan, women and girls strive to get an education Date: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 “Educating women and girls and women’s empowerment in our community is my dream,” says Beheshta, a 20-year-old Afghan girl who recently completed classes offered by the UN Women-supported Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Centre in Parwan Province, northeastern Afghanistan. Education is often not an option for many women and girls in Afghanistan. According to Government figures, only 26 per cent of Afghanistan’s population is literate, and among women the rate is only 12 per cent. Among school age children, 38 per cent (4.2 million in real numbers) do not have access to schools, most of which are girls. Attacks by insurgents who oppose women’s education lead to regular closures of girls’ schools. Moreover, 50 per cent of schools do not have buildings and other necessities, and a dearth of textbooks, teaching materials and equipped laboratories, along with the large number of school closures or relocations directly affects the quality of education. (excerpt http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/7/afghani-women-strive-to-get-an-education accessed online 10/8/17.) #3 No Justice, ‘No Value’ for Women in a Lawless Afghan Province   By MUJIB MASHAL and ZAHRA NADER JULY 8, 2017 There are three versions of how Tabaruk, a mother of six, died this spring during a journey through treacherous snow-covered mountains in Afhanistan. She and her family had been expelled from their village in Ghor Province because her teenage daughter, Mah Yamsar, was said to have brought dishonor by becoming pregnant out of wedlock. The police in Ghor say Tabaruk fell off her horse and died. Members of the provincial council and human rights activists say she was pushed off a cliff, and then tied to a horse and dragged around until dead.    HISD Social Studies Curriculum 2017   World Geography Studies A third version of the story was told to Mah Yamsar by her 8-year-old brother, who was traveling with Tabaruk at the time. “They killed my mother with the bullets of a gun,” the b rother recounted. If Afghanistan is one of the worst places to be a woman, then Ghor, a province so lawless that people often wonder if there is a government there at all, may be the country’s capital of gender -based violence and abuse. Week after week there are reports of women abused or killed in Ghor by men who never face justice. “There have been 118 registered cases of violence against women in Ghor in the past year, and those are only cases that have been reported,” said  Fawzia Koofi , head of the women’s rights   commission in the Afghan Parliament, who recently visited Ghor to raise awareness about the lack of justice. “And not a single suspect in these 118 cases has been arrested.”   “There is no value for women there,” Ms. Koofi added. “It is as if she deserves to die.”  With a population of over 700,000 and located in west-central Afghanistan, Ghor is considered one of the most deprived provinces of the country. It has received little government attention over the years, and the rule of law is almost nonexistent in certain parts of the territory. Ghor also shares borders with some of the most violent provinces with strong Taliban presence, making it vulnerable to the insurgency. Ms. Koofi, the lawmaker, said the violence had its roots in tribal feuds and the pervasive practice of marrying off girls at a very young age for large dowries. Also playing a crucial role in the violence, Ms. Koofi said, is the absence of the rule of law and a complete sense of impunity. No one has yet been prosecuted for the death of Tabaruk. Tabaruk, was focused on protecting her daughter from her own almost certain death. The daughter, Mah Yamsar, says she was at home last year when a neighbor raped her. She hid the episode from everyone, until she realized she was pregnant. Her mother become her secret-bearer and helper. In rural Afghanistan, it is common for such pregnancies to end in honor killings. The villag e council, swayed by the accused rapist’s  powe rful relatives, said Mah Yamsar’s family had brought dishonor on the village. “Load up, and leave this place,” the family was told.  Mah Yamsar, still recovering from a forced abortion, was put on a motorcycle. Her mother rode a horse, while her father, her brother and two village elders, both men, followed behind.    HISD Social Studies Curriculum 2017   World Geography Studies Mah Yamsar arrived ahead of her family in Kharsang, also in Ghor, where the family planned to start a new life. Her mother never made it. At first, her father said Tabaruk would come. Then he said she had fallen off the horse and died. But her brother said their father was lying. His father and the two village elders took Tabaruk off into the distance, telling him to stay behind. When they returned, his father said Tabaruk had fallen off the horse. But the child told Mah Yamsar he heard gunshots. (Adapted: https://www.nytimes.com accessed online 10/9/17.) #4 The Breadwinner    (Excerpt) by Deborah Ellis Groundwood Books, 2000 “I can read that letter as well as   Father can,” Parvana whispered into the folds of her chador. “Well, almost.”   She didn’t dare say those words out loud. The man sitting beside her father would not want to hear her voice. Nor would anyone else in the Kabul market. Parvana was there only to help her father walk to the market and back home again after work. She sat well back on the blanket, her head and most of her face covered by her chador. She wasn’t really supposed to be outside at all. The Taliban had ordered all the girls and women in Afghanistan to stay inside their homes. They even forbade girls to go to school. Parvana had had to leave her sixth grade class, and her sister Nooria was not allowed to go to her high school. Their mother had been kicked out of her job as a writer for a Kabul radio station. For more than a year now, they had all been stuck inside one room, along with five-year-old Maryam and two-year-old Ali. Parvana did get out for a few hours most days to help her father walk. She was always glad to go outside, even though it meant sitting for hours on a blanket spread over the hard ground of the marketplace. At least it was something to do. She had even got used to holding her tongue and hiding her face. She was small for her eleven years. As a small girl, she could usually get away with being outside without being questioned.    HISD Social Studies Curriculum 2017   World Geography Studies “I need this girl to help me walk,” her father would tell any Talib who asked, pointing to his leg. He had lost the lower part of his leg when the high school he was teaching in was bombed. His insides had been hurt somehow, too. He was often tired. “I have no son at home, except for an infant,” he would explain. Parvana would slump down further on the blanket and try to make herself look smaller. She was afraid to look up at the soldiers. She had seen what they did, especially to women, the way they would whip and beat someone they thought should be punished. Sitting in the marketplace day after day, she had seen a lot. When the Taliban were around, what she wanted most of all was to be invisible. Now the customer asked her father to read his letter again. “Read it slowly, so that I can remember it for my family.”  Parvana would have liked to get a letter. Mail delivery had recently started again in Afghanistan, after years of being disrupted by war. Many of her friends had fled the country with their families. She thought they were in Pakistan, but she wasn’t sure, so she couldn’t write to them. Her own family had moved so often because of the bombing that her friends no longer knew where she was. “Afghans cover the earth like stars cover the sky,” her father often said.   Her father finished reading the man’s letter a second time. The customer thanked him and paid. “I will look for you when it is time to write a reply.”  Most people in Afghanistan could not read or write. Parvana was one of the lucky ones. Both of her parents had been to university, and they believed in education for everyone, even girls.
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