Disturbing new research has shown that Afghan men — especially the younger generations — are strongly opposed to the notion of women’s equality, with two-thirds of men going so far as to claim that women have too many rights already. A survey of 2,000 respondents by U.N. Women and Promundo has prompted concern from women’s rights activists after it revealed unsettling signs about growing anti-woman sentiment in the country.
According to the survey, only 15 percent of men felt that married women should be allowed to work outside of the home, and two-thirds of men said that Afghan women had too many rights in general and that women were inherently “too emotional” to serve as leaders. By comparison, three-quarters of women surveyed said that married women should be afforded equal opportunity to work outside the home, while under a third of female respondents felt that women already had too many civil rights or were too emotional to be leaders.
Under Taliban rule from 1996-2001, women were banned from working, required to wear the burqa, and barred from even leaving the house without a male escort. But since the Taliban’s ouster by the U.S., women had seen their opportunities increase substantially — including politically. In 2018, Afghanistan’s parliament had more women representatives than even 1st-world countries such as Canada, Israel, and Ireland.
According to Promundo-U.S. founder Gary Barker, the Taliban’s religious proselytizing against women’s empowerment has made a powerful impact on the views of young men facing societal changes and uncertain economic prospects, as poverty and the ever-looming prospect of war provide ample fuel for the spread of extremism. Unless activists worked to reach “the hearts and minds of men,” he warned, girls’ education and empowerment in the country is likely to continue to face significant pushback and retaliation.
Read the full story at ABC News.