Canada is committed to the Afghan mission till 2011. Meanwhile, President Karzai is considering laws that are repressive to women, which includes one that sactions rape within marriage. Canadians are rightfully outraged, but remember that in Canada:
- women have only been considered persons since 1930;
- women have only had the vote in Quebec since 1949;
- in 1968 it became illegal for a husband to beat his wife;
- in the 1970s, women had to have a male family member co-sign loan and credit-card applications; and
- in 1983, rape within a marriage became illegal in Canada
We rolled up our sleeves and changed the law here. Now, women in Afghanistan are doing the same thing. Correction, it isn’t the same: They are literally taking their lives in their hands for human rights. After being shot, killed, pummelled, set on fire, burned, had acid thrown at them and otherwise, Afghani women are STILL standing up and crying out: No means no. Weaker sex? Not bloody likely.
When Canada leaves the region, it is imperative that we not forget these women and their supporters. Women’s rights are human rights.
The Globe and Mail ran a good piece on April 18 that’s worth a read:”Plight of Afghan women prompts fresh debate over war,” by Sandra Martin.