Female candidates help women vote in Afghanistan

2009-08-14 19:06 BJT

Special Report: Afghan presidential election |

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The plight of Afghan women has seen little change since the Taliban was ousted back in 2001.

But some women have slowly begun entering public life. One week before presidential and provincial elections, female candidates are working hard to encourage women to vote.

Every morning Okmina puts on a turban, straps on a pistol and heads to neighboring villages and farms in eastern Afghanistan. She disguises herself in male clothing to persuade people to vote for her in the provincial election.

She is an unusual figure in rural Afghanistan. Women usually don't go out alone or talk to men they don't know.

Tribal elders found the 40-year-old woman to be very brave and choose her as their leader.

But she gave up her work as a tribal leader in order to run for office. She hopes to inspire other women to follow her footsteps.

Okmina, Provincial Election Candidate, said, "Women don't have rights in Afghanistan. If there are rights, it's too little. Men can say anything they wish, but a woman's voice is always suppressed."