Organization: Alliance of Health Organization
Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
The Attitudes of Afghan Men on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights in Afghanistan.
Much research on gender issues and the status of women from the perspective of scholars, researchers and development agencies has been done in Afghanistan since 2001 when NATO forces ousted the Taliban government, most of it focused on women’s issues. There is however, a lack of direct local research on how Afghan men view these efforts to promote gender equality and women’s rights. As a result of a four month research project in Kabul, I found that the efforts of the international community to promote gender equality and improve conditions for women in Afghanistan have not worked. In contrast, they have provoked Afghan men into more defensive and conservative positions, rather than convinced them that women are equal to men. This holds true regardless of education levels and urban or rural residence in the province of Kabul, based on focus groups with Afghan men and interviews with local experts knowledgeable about the implementation of gender policies. I further argue that the international community has failed to uncover and respond to the objections and rationales against gender equality by which Afghan men justify their position. This lack of cultural and religious sensitivity by the international community is a major factor in the decrease in support by Afghan men for gender equality and women’s rights.