Women’s day in Afghanistan

Happy International Women’s Day.

Some 685 women will die today in Afghanistan due to disease or during childbirth.

Over 24,000 women die of these causes each year.

87% of these deaths are preventable. That figure is 25 times more than the number killed by conflict.

70% of pregnant women do not recieve medical care. 

80% of women in the country are affected by domestic violence.

60% of marriages are forced.

Half of all girls are married before they are 16.

These, and a few more topical statistics for the day, are from this IRIN report.

Now, to cheer us all up, here’s a photo of some women celebrating Women’s Day in Kabul, courtesy of the UN. Conditions may be no better than it was during the Taliban, but at least they can play with kites.

08march06.jpg

Having just written that I went out to an International Women’s Day celebration thingy.

Lots of speeches in Dari, most from men, many discussing how women’s rights fit into Islam and the teachings of the Prophet. How they are compatible.

The figure 24,000 kept floating round my head as I was sitting there, along with thoughts of the gross inequalities and the hardships women face.

Returning to this computer I am feeling less bitter than when I left though, for I was reminded of the Afghan women and men who work in small ways and in large to improve the lives of their sisters.

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