Repression, Resistance, and Women in Afghanistan

Repression, Resistance, and Women in Afghanistan

Repression, Resistance, and Women in Afghanistan

Repression, Resistance, and Women in Afghanistan

Synopsis

Afghan women have faced an exhaustive struggle in the battle to change their status and improve their situation. Emadi takes a long look at the role of development and modernization policies implemented by the state in the pre- and post-Soviet eras, under the Taliban, and beyond. He finds that such policies have failed to bring about much- needed change and improvement for women. Modernization strategies benefited only a small segment of urban women and left the plight of rural women unchanged. Although a small segment of middle- and upper-class women organized themselves and fought to bring about changes in their status and to end gender inequality, their efforts alone did not meet with much success.

Excerpt

One of the main characteristics of socioeconomic development in the West is that development in these societies did not originate from the top, as a result of state actions, but from below, as a consequence of choices made by members of society. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, capitalist development and modernization in the West had succeeded in transforming the feudal mode of production and its corresponding culture and politics into a new society that was based on a capitalist mode of production. This new era provided women with an opportunity to work outside their homes. Capitalist development in Afghanistan did not proceed from below, but rather was imposed from the top by the state apparatus. Imposed capitalism that succeeded in some of the developing nations did not alter the feudal mode of production or its corresponding ideology, politics, and cultural practices in Afghanistan. This trend of development, which began only in the post-World War II period, brought limited changes regarding women's status, and those at the forefront of this movement were mainly urban intellectuals. Capitalist development did not end women's oppression, and particularly in the rural areas the plight of women has remained a neglected issue in the literature devoted to social, economic, and political development in Afghanistan. Although a number of studies have been published discussing the status of women in both the private and the public arena in Afghanistan, most of these books examine the women's movements in isolation from international development and class struggle in the country.

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