Among the most powerful images from Afghanistan after the overthrow
of the Taliban in 2001 were those of women shedding their burqas,
going back to work and sending their daughters to school. As
their country emerged from decades of war and repressive regimes,
Afghan women, who had been nearly invisible during six years
of fundamentalist rule, began actively participating in public
life. But the initial promise of reconstruction has fallen short.
Women still experience many of the same problems -- poor health
care, illiteracy, lack of security and political powerlessness
-- that they experienced under the Taliban. And they still face
many of the same restrictions on their everyday lives. Rona
Popal, president of Afghan Women's Association International,
says the challenge now is "how to work with ordinary people
to let them know that women are human beings."
Struggling to Speak
SECURITY: Fear and Violence
HEALTH: A Risky Place to Be Female
EDUCATION: Learning for Change
Lyssa Mudd is a journalist based in Berkeley.
Photos courtesy Sarah Chayes, Brian Knappenberger, and Eve
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