Sample Essay

The program providers first offered the adult literacy program to males. Once men enrolled in the program, they were informed that it was a “couples’ class” and that they could attend if they brought their wives with them. Andersen and Kooij (2007) speculated that it was “more acceptable” for the men to allow their wives to attend class in their presence, rather than for them to consider their wives attending a class without them. For the wives, the researchers observed, the fact that their husbands invited them to participate enabled them to consider the significance of the literacy to the improvement of the family — linking the effort to the family and honor values that characterize Afghan culture (Dupree, 2002). The researchers observed that implementation of programs in Afghan community requires the sensitivity of the custom and values to further reach target beneficiaries. Dupree (2002) noted that “in a respectful and inclusive way is perhaps more likely to be accepted in this traditional culture” (p. 328).

Perception and Relationships

Ball (2008) made the interesting argument that there has been a Western focus on the injustices encountered by Afghan women at the hands of the Taliban in particular. However as part of a legacy of general national patriarchy, there is a brief periods of efforts to establish equality (for instance, King Amanullah’s and King Shah’s reform efforts in the early and mid-20th century). This “overtly gendered nature of the War on Terror” has framed U.S. forces “not only as the combatants of ‘terror’ but also as patriarchal protectors” (p. 304). Amiri et al. (2004) and Barakat and Wardell (2002) similarly noted this and observed that even as greater numbers of women participated in government, education and work, there has also been a backlash among Afghanistan’s more conservative elements. There are those who viewed that the presence of Western, predominantly male, security is required to assure the “liberation” of Muslim women.

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