Posted by: traceyhanson | July 17, 2006

Afghan Women Soccer Players

An American woman in their 30’s probably has never worried about women’s rights. I know that I have gone through my life feeling pretty equal to men. Sure, we still have some things we need to fight but overall we are pretty lucky. We can vote, have a full-time career and participate in sports. Overall we have a good life in America. So good we probably forget about other countries.

Last night my husband and I enjoyed our relaxing Sunday evening by watching the ESPY’s.
“The ESPY’s gather the top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year’s best sports stories by recognizing major achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances” hosted by ESPN. Yes, I love ESPN and look forward to the ESPY’s every year.

At one point in the show they brought on Ashley Judd to present the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Within 1 minute my husband and I sat in silence and disbelief as they did a short documentary on Afghanistan and the Taliban’s rule over the country and what it meant for women. I’m sure many of you know the history of Afghanistan and the Taliban’s rule but if you need a reminder please see the Human Rights Website. Women had to cover themselves completely while out in public, they were not allowed to have jobs, go to school, teach their children, forced to marry, raped, beaten and executed if they did not follow these rules.

In November 2001 the U.S.-led alliance toppled the Taliban and women and girls in Afghanistan have gained some freedom to participate in public life and access to education, health care, and employment. While there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in regards to women’s rights Ashley began speak of these new found freedoms including the Women’s Soccer. Presently fifteen teams made up of girls ranging in age from 12 to 18 play soccer in Kabul, their country’s capital. The leagues were formed after a handful of girls from Afghanistan traveled to the U.S. in the summer of 2004 to attend soccer clinics as part of a organization, the Afghan Youth Sports Exchange. When they returned home they wanted to share with other young women what they learned. Two of the girls who visited the U.S. that summer and still play soccer, 18-year old Shamila Kohestani and 16-year old Roia Ahmad accepted the award on stage at the ESPYS. They received a standing ovation and were dressed in beautiful traditional Afghanistann clothes.

2006 ESPY’s Press Room

Not much to say after that. Lots of thoughts have been running through my head.

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