A report issued by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction noted that even though the United States spent more than $787 million dollars on “gender equality projects” in Afghanistan since 2002, “harmful socio-cultural norms” kept them making major progress.
The report did note that there were some small advances. The number of pregnant women receiving prenatal care rose, that more women are working in healthcare and the literacy rate among women grew. However, the report also noted,
The positive story of gains across these sectors is tempered by the reality that significant barriers—including restrictive sociocultural norms and insecurity— continue to impede progress for Afghan women and girls.
• Girls’ access to education is constrained by the lack of female teachers and infrastructure, and pressures on girls to withdraw from school at puberty.
• A lack of female healthcare providers, restrictive sociocultural practices, lack of education, and prohibitive costs pose barriers to women seeking health care.
• The quality of health care and education remains a problem, and education gains have been largely at the primary school level.
• Gains across sectors have been geographically uneven, with rural women and girls experiencing significantly less improvement overall.
• Women who have ventured into non-traditional and historically male-dominated areas—such as the media, security forces, and politics—are at higher risk of retaliation by the Taliban and anti-government elements.
• Gender disparity is still a persistent characteristic of the Afghan labor force.
None of this is exactly a shock given what the country is like. Read this quote and you’ll get an idea of the culture is like in Afghanistan,
“Men in our community think the role of women is to sit at home and cook,” a woman from Nangarhar Province said, as part of a series of SIGAR-commissioned interviews. “If their mothers tell them to behave well with their wives, so they do, and if their mothers order them to beat their wives and misbehave, so they also do.”
We dropped more than 787.4 million dollars trying to promote “gender equality” to tribal cavemen and people are just now realizing that’s an investment that’s unlikely to bear significant fruit? How is that even possible? We’re going to try to convince tribesmen who believe women are property that exist to be bred and serve men and we want them to conclude those women are now their equals? Just because we told them so? It’s moronic. Moreover, how is it our business? Go look at our divorce rate, the number of women working on OnlyFans and as sugar babies, and the guys identifying as female walking around in women’s bathrooms and tell me we have anything to teach another country about gender. If Afghanistan is the backward land that time forgot when it comes to women, we’re just the extreme on the other side. We can say that our situation is better than their situation, but that’s like saying a bad case of COVID-19 is better than having Ebola. It is, but you don’t want either.
We also don’t have 787 million to throw away to make trivial gains on women’s equality in Afghanistan. Good luck convincing our government of that.
John Hawkins is the author of 101 Things All Young Adults Should Know
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