Khair Khana and Women’s Issues Worldwide

Khair Khana and Women’s Issues Worldwide The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Lemmon details the Khair Khana district of Kabul during the span of Taliban control between 1997 and 2001, and more specifically, the experiences, ennuie, and energy of Kamila Sidiqi and her family, all residences of Khair Khana. Lemmon recounts the trials Kamila faces by first being restricted from going to school, going outside without a male relative, and having to wear a chadri, an ancient custom that enforces a “pious” nature upon women by having them show little to no skin year round. She and her family are forced to remain inside and try to adapt to the new laws, but Kamila becomes reckless due to months of lazing about and hatches up a plan: to sew and sell dresses in the local market. After learning from her older sister, Kamila expands her business and extracts many of the local Khair Khana girls to participate and be paid. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana reflects a universal fact: once freedom and learning has been given to someone, they’ll do anything to keep it alight within them. Women the world over have been restricted and restrained from the same freedoms Kamila experienced previous to the Taliban, such as going to school, having a job, being allowed to wear what they wished, within minor restrictions, having the world open to them.

They are demanded to be quiet and meek dolls created for the whims of men. The societies refuse to give women literacy and protection, and rely upon archaic traditions that no one deserves.Women in societies that oppress them should be helped by the U.N and other associations by bringing education and institutions that fight for their freedoms. Associations that support and defend women in countries of infamously low living standards is not a new concept. The cousin association of Khair Khana was a sewing circle created by women poets and writers that demanded the right to expression, which they called the Golden Needle Sewing School.

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(Synovitz, 3) Rather than actually sewing, they would simply discuss Joyce and Dostoevsky and their own poetry. Yet again, Afghanistan, prior to the Taliban, was under a far less oppressive regime, so these young women had been given the fruits of knowledge. Many, in regimes similar to the Taliban in their absurd fundamentalism, are not. In Afghanistan before the Taliban, women could go to school as long as the men did, something like 15 years of schooling. In most regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, girls are given a mere 9 years at best, and 5 years at worst.

(“Left behind.”) They usually have to leave earlier at around the 5 year mark, as they need to support their family and prepare for marriage, among the ancient traditions of that section of the world in where young girls are essentially prepped for marriage. That presents one of the many restrictions upon basic freedoms and right to choose that we in more ‘developed’ countries are used to. In the Central African Republic, there are no reinforcements upon women’s rights whatsoever, be it in the constitution or more rural areas. Women are not allowed abortions in any case, and there are no defenses against sexual or domestic abuse, which is rampant around the region. The real issues that need to be quelled and removed from these places are the lack of education and the psychology of superiority over women due to religious fundamentalism and reliance upon aged traditions and modes of thought.

The best way to mend these deeply rooted psychological and sociological patterns towards women is by providing them with education. It can be used as a tool to empower women, make them healthier, and have a great income generation within households. (“UN Womenwatch”, 6) This can be done by establishing UN funded and backed schools in both rural and urban areas of these regions, with both male and female teachers so as to provide a better understanding of equality from a young age. Fear is the center of men’s reasons, but the fear of men can lead to many different actions all in the name of something foolish and blind; god, tradition, war, hate. The men that repress and oppress women in societies globally around the world is representative of one thing: we are irrational entities, yet our ability to become rational is one to be admired and something to strive pragmatically for, rather than impeding it. Khair Khana and The Golden Needle Sewing School reflect that fact, that openness and demand of freedom, of thought, of literature and liberties.

The are examples for the women around the world yet untouched by these fruits, but when they are brought with open arms to them, their gracious and ravenous thank yous will be music to the ears, and rightfully so.