When the Taliban ruled, Afghan women rarely left their home. When they did venture beyond their four walls, they wafted through crowded markets covered from head to toe in the all-encompassing burqa. While most women in conservative Afghanistan may still wear the burqa, today’s Afghan woman has choices she never had before, like running for parliament.
In the last elections in 2010, 69 women won seats in Afghanistan’s 249-seat parliament. The next parliamentary vote will be held in 2015, but first are the April 5 presidential and provincial council elections.
Under Afghan law, 20 per cent of council member seats are reserved for women, who are also figuring prominently in presidential campaigns. Three presidential hopefuls have taken the bold step of choosing a woman as a running mate, including one of the front-runners.