Victory For Afghan Women Asking #WhereIsMyName?

Afghan citizens can now have their mothers’ names written beside their fathers’ on their national identification cards. After years of electioneering by activists to try and do away with the shame to use feminine names publicly, the Afghan government on Tuesday passed a bill in parliament which will enable Afghan citizens to print their mothers’ names for identification purposes.

An Afghan woman holding her baby. Source: Pinterest

After fighting for years and flooding social medias with #WhereIsMyName?, Afghan activists are already celebrating the government's decision.


In 2018, Khujesta Tamana, an Afghan citizen, was travelling to Europe with her son but she was stopped at Delhi airport by the airport authorities.


“The officials checked my documents and then my son’s and questioned if I was indeed his mother because I was listed nowhere on his documents,” she told TRT World, explaining her ordeal.


“They were rightfully concerned because as an adult I had no documents to prove that my son was indeed mine. Names of his father and grandfather were mentioned, but not mine, the woman who carried him, birthed him and was nurturing him,” she shared, the memories bringing up frustration and humiliations of the past.


A BBC report by Mahjooba Nowrouzi, within the days leading up to the key legislation, explains it thus:


“Using a woman’s name in public is frowned upon and can be considered an insult. Many Afghan men are reluctant to say the names of their sisters, wives or mothers in public. Women are generally only referred to as the mother, daughter or sister of the eldest male in their family, and Afghan law dictates that only the father’s name should be recorded on a birth certificate.”

A woman’s name is usually not mentioned on the invitations for her wedding, it only features the names of the bride's father and her to-be-husband. Neither do they mention the woman's name on her grave.


Afghanistan has created major enhancements in increasing women’s role publicly within the 20 years since the falling of the religious movement. Innumerable women attend schools and universities across the country, and ladies hold necessary government jobs. However, activists say misogyny and patriarchy still runs deep.


The recent Afghan taboo over girls publicly runs so deep that young schoolboys usually get into fights if somebody even mentions the name of their mother or sister, an act seen as a dishonor. in an exceedingly country of war and widows, girls struggle to say themselves as legal guardians of their youngsters in government offices or perform business transactions in their own names while not the presence of a person. Even most women’s graves never have their names — solely those of male relatives.


The Afghan cabinet’s legal committee headed by one amongst the country’s two vice presidents, Sarwar Danish, made a proposal to amend the census law to incorporate the mother’s name on the national card had been approved in an exceedingly board meeting on weekday. whereas the change still needs parliamentary approval and language into law by the president, a representative for the vice chairman same officers expected those steps to be sleek.


“The amendment changes the definition of identity — the new identity would comprise the person’s name, last name, father’s name, mother’s name, and date of birth,” said the spokesman, Mohamed Hedayat. “In the old definition, a mother's name was not part of the identity.”


Laleh Osmany, one amongst the earliest supporters of the #WhereIsMyName? campaign in western city Province, said that they are still fighting against patriarchy. From a young age, women are conditioned to believe they're useless to a person, proverbial in respect to the boys in their families, with no freelance identity of their own.


“Most of the limitations on women in society have no foundation in religion, and I realized the depth of that in my four years as a student of Islamic law,” Ms. Osmany said. “In Islam, there is nothing that limits women’s identity. But in our society they associate every limitation — even on women’s identity — with religion.”

The amendment to the ID system “is concerning restoring the foremost basic and natural right of girls that they're denied,” Ms. Osmany said. “By printing her name, we tend to provide the mother power, and therefore the law provides her sure authorities to be a mother United Nations agency will, while not the presence of a person, get documents for her youngsters, inscribe her youngsters in class, travel.”

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