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Land of the UnconquerableThe Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women$
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Jennifer Heath and Ashraf Zahedi

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520261853

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520261853.001.0001

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The Politics of Zan From Amanullah to Karzai

The Politics of Zan From Amanullah to Karzai

Lessons for Improving Afghan Women's Status

Chapter:
(p.45) Chapter 1 The Politics of Zan From Amanullah to Karzai
Source:
Land of the Unconquerable
Author(s):

Shireen Khan Burki

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520261853.003.0002

This chapter addresses the frustrating and dangerous maze of Afghanistan's official gender policies starting in 1919, when ideas of equality were introduced, and suggests how future attempts to raise women's status might actually have lasting success. Afghanistan's “modernization” process was first set in motion by Amir Amanullah's grandfather, Amir Abdur Rahman, and continued by his father Amir Habibullah, albeit limitedly. Amanullah introduced the Nizamnamah-ye-Arusi and Nikah wa Khatnasuri laws regarding engagements and marriage. Muhammad Nadir Shah removed any symbols of Amanullah's era. When Muhammad Zahir Shah assumed the throne after Nadir Shah's assassination in 1933, he continued his father's approach of slow progression on gender and social issues. The gender policies of Kabul have reflected the perceptions, attitudes, and traditions of those in power. Without tangible improvements in both the security and economic realms, Afghan women will continue to be pawns in endless cycles of violence and suffering.

Keywords:   gender policies, Afghan women, Amir Amanullah, Muhammad Nadir Shah, Muhammad Zahir Shah, Kabul, modernization

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