Appearances to the contrary, the Western presence in Afghanistan has done little to influence the way young people think about social values—especially the role of women. A recent bill that would have protected women from child marriage, violence, and polygamy was protested with vigor until lawmakers blocked it. Surprisingly, many of its notable opponents were women. As the New York Times reports, one protest saw women holding posters such as, “I am a Self-Aware Woman, I Will Not Be Deceived by the Empty Slogans of the West.” On the other side, some young women, like activist Noor Jahan Akbar, have taken on the mantle of advocating for themselves. “A mind-set built over 100 years takes longer than 10 years to change,” she said.
Even female protesters helped block a bill that would have protected them.