EXCLUSIVE: “This is what Afghanistan needs…”

October 6, 2010 at 7:57 pm 1 comment

Afghanistan expert Bruce Robertson has just returned from observing September’s Parliamentary elections in Jalalabad and Herat.  Today he spoke to my South Asia Studies class about his experience with the Afghan elections.  I asked him about women’s role in the elections.

Bruce’s report was very encouraging.  The Afghan women were “not shy and retiring,” he said; on the contrary, they “came out in force” for the election.  He noted that women’s polling stations (which were separate from men’s) were better organized than the men’s, and that he and his team “couldn’t get in the door” because of the number of women lined up waiting to vote.  He also asserted that the female candidates generally had a better idea of what they would do if voted into power – priorities including women’s empowerment, maternal and child health care improvements, and entrepreneurial assistance.

At one polling station, he was surprised to hear a woman’s voice speaking excellent English amongst the crowd.  His curiosity piqued, he looked around and found himself face-to-face with one of Afghanistan’s courageous female Parliamentary candidates – all of whom ran for office at serious personal risk – bringing water to the polling station for her campaign workers.  She related that she had just completed her Master’s at Georgetown.  Educated, compassionate, and “on the ball” leadership: “this is what Afghanistan needs,” Bruce said.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Don  |  December 24, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Excellent summary, very encouraging.


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