Reaching beyond sensational headlines, "Land of the Unconquerable" at last offers a three-dimensional portrait of Afghan women. In a series of wide-ranging, deeply reflective essays, accomplished scholars, humanitarian workers, politicians, and journalists - most with extended experience inside Afghanistan - examine the realities of life for women in both urban and rural settings. They address topics including food security, sex work, health, marriage, education, poetry, politics, prisoners, and community development. Eschewing stereotypes about the burqa, the contributors focus instead on women's empowerment and agency, and their struggles for peace and justice in the face of a brutal ongoing war. A fuller picture of Afghanistan's women past and present emerges, leading to social policy suggestions and pragmatic solutions for a peaceful future.
Jennifer Heath is editor of The Veil: Women Writers on Its History, Lore, and Politics (UC Press) and author or editor of numerous other books. Ashraf Zahedi is a sociologist at the Beatrice Bain Research Group at the University of California, Berkeley.
Acknowledgments Introduction Jennifer Heath Part I. Perceptions and Realities 1. The Politics of Zan from Amanullah to Karzai: Lessons for Improving Afghan Women's Status Shireen Khan Burki 2. Between Covered and Covert: Traditions, Stereotypes, and Afghan Women's Agency Margaret A. Mills 3. Centuries of Threat, Centuries of Resistance: The Lessons of Afghan Women's Resilience Anne E. Brodsky 4. Don't Say What, Who, and When, Say How: Community Development and Women Wahid Omar 5. Afghanistan Blues: Seeing Beyond the Burqa on YouTube Dinah Zeiger Part II. A Woman's Place 6. Women's Political Presence: A Path to Promoting Gender Interests? Anna Larson 7. Voices of Parliamentarians: Four Women MPs Share Their Thoughts Massouda Jalal, Malalai Joya, Fawzia Koofi, and Azita Rafat 8. Nothing Left to Lose: Women in Prison Lizette Potgieter 9. Selling Sex in Afghanistan: Portraits of Sex Workers in Kabul Alisa Tang 10. Between Choice and Force: Marriage Practices in Afghanistan Deborah J. Smith Part III. To Be Whole in Body and Mind 11. The Hidden War against Women: Health Care in Afghanistan Sima Samar 12. Challenges to Cripple the Spirit: A Midwife's Experiences Pamela Chandler 13. Women with Disabilities: Recollections from Across the Decades Mary MacMakin 14. A Question of Access: Women and Food Security Elizabeth Stites 15. Psychological Impacts of War: Human Rights and Mental Health Nahid Aziz Part IV. Making the Rubble Bloom 16. Mending Afghanistan Stitch by Stitch: How Traditional Crafts and Social Organization Advance Afghan Women Rachel Lehr 17. Rural Women's Livelihood: Their Position in the Agrarian Economy Jo Grace and Adam Pain 18. Chadari Politics: Translating Perceptions into Policy and Practice Lina Abirafeh 19. When the Picture Does Not Fit the Frame: Engaging Afghan Men in Women's Empowerment Ashraf Zahedi Part V. "Don't Eclipse My Happy New Moon" 20. Empowering Women through Education: Recipe for Success Sakena Yacoobi 21. From Both Sides of the Mic: Women and the Media Aunohita Mojumdar 22. Painting Their Way into the Public World: Women and the Visual Arts Lauryn Oates 23. A Hidden Discourse: Afghanistan's Women Poets Zuzanna Olszewska Epilogue: Great Expectations 24. Hopes and Dreams: Interviews with Young Afghans Amina Kator Selected Bibliography About the Contributors Index