Afghan woman sets sights on presidency in a man's land
AFGHANISTAN: Leading Afghan women's rights champion, author,
lawmaker and presidential hopeful, Fawzia Koofi, has a revealing
anecdote about life as a woman in a man's land.
As she walked out of the Presidential Palace in Kabul recently, a
conservative male parliamentary colleague approached her and said: "'Ms
Koofi, if you would really like to live in a palace -- because you are
running for the presidency -- why don't you get married to a
president'?" Even now, weeks later, Koofi's steady brown eyes flash at
"It really made me feel angry, because that's how they see it," Koofi
told AFP in an interview in her Kabul home.
"If a woman would like to become a president it's not because she's
qualified for it, it's because she would like to live in a palace!" In a
riposte, she told her colleague pointedly that, unlike some men with
dubious pasts in Afghanistan's 30 years of conflict, she had no need to
hide in the security of a palace.
"I'm happy sometimes when they oppose me because it means I'm
something to them, they feel I am strong -- and I also give them the
required punch, I think." Named this year as one of the world's "150
Fearless Women" by US website The Daily Beast, Koofi, 36, is a widow
with two young girls who are addressed in her memoir "Letters to my
It is a tale of courage and passion in the face of the overwhelming
challenges faced by a girl growing up in a country sometimes called the
worst place in the world to be a woman. She was left in the sun to die
immediately after her birth by her exhausted and depressed mother -- one
of seven wives in a family of 23 children -- who knew that another girl
would not win her husband's approval, she writes.