Saying that South Asia has a large proportion of women who face marginalisation, Ghani added, "It is my conviction that becoming economically and socially vulnerable puts you at the mercy of people surrounding you. It is as if you no longer exist as a human being and are no longer worthy of respect."

Speaking as the chief guest at a gender-based conference at Jamia Millia Islamia, she cited that in such a situation "you become an object that can be mistreated and abused – verbally, physically and sexually. Violence becomes your fate".

Addressing delegates from South Asian countries, teachers and students, Ghani presented a case study of a young woman who was killed with a "horrendous barbarity" in Kabul on March
19 over charges of desecrating the holy Quran.

Holding that the victim's "fate" was not irreversible, the First Lady said, "Within hours, Kabul shook with indignation and the collective consciousness of men and women was galvanised. Civil society and women organisations were the first to voice their outrage and demand a thorough investigation."

Ghani said that there are lessons "that can be derived from the impact of the tragedy on the mindset of the people". "It might turn into one of the most defining moments for the empowerment of Afghan women.  Hopefully, it will pave the way for a more equitable gender balance in Afghanistan," she added.

Latest News from India News Desk