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Today is International Women’s Day! And if you have no idea what that means, you’re definitely not alone. You might think it was another holiday created by hallmark…

Actually, it was created to celebrate the political and social achievements of women. And each year has a different theme. I think of the day as a celebration of empowerment – women recognizing that they can create the changes they want to see. However, not particularly surprising, the spirit of the day is lost on a lot of people.

On the ground in Afghanistan, it seems to be all about women getting gifts from their employers. (And pretty significant gifts, I might add. I know some government employees got $100 in local currency, which has a lot of buying power here.) Of course, there are also speeches and time away from jobs for tea and lunch (this is Afghanistan after all).

In the US, I might have questioned the need to have a special day for women, but living in a place where women are clearly not equals has definitely adjusted my mindset.

Consider for a moment – when is a girl no longer a child? Is it at around 13 when she starts menstruating? Is it when the government recognizes her right to vote? Is it when the government says she is responsible enough to buy alcohol? Or, is it when she gets married? Here, in Afghanistan, girls are children until they get married. They move from being dependent on their fathers to being dependent on their husbands. This is reflected in the language; the same word is used for all unmarried girls.

 

And if you’re wondering what this particular international woman is doing these days, stay tuned…

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