Afghan men wear Burkas to protest for women’s rights

By Annie Stevens

Afghan men wear Burkas to protest for women’s rights
Afghan men don burkas in women's rights protest

A group of men have marched through the streets of the Afghan capital of Kabul wearing the head-to-toe burqas that for many symbolise the oppression of women ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday.

The men carried signs that read ‘Equality’ and ‘Don’t tell women what to wear, you should cover your eyes.’

The burqa became law during Taliban’s reign in Afghanistan, many women in the country still wear it.

The group of 20 or so men wanted to see what women experienced wearing the burka.

“Our authorities will be celebrating International Women’s Day in big hotels, but we wanted to take it to the streets,” activist Basir, 29 told reporters.

“One of the best ways to understand how women feel is to walk around and wear a burka.”

Some of the men involved in the march said that wearing the burka felt like a ‘prison’, however the march drew a mixed response on the streets in Kabul with some bemused by the protest.

Men taking up the cause of women can be problematic, and some women didn’t appreciate their efforts,.

Medina Ali, a 16 year-old student told Reuters who wears a burka,

“We don’t need anyone to defend our rights,” she said.

“This is just a foreign project to create a bad image for the burka and Afghanistan.

“They’re trying to make those of us who cover our faces feel bad.”

Calls to ban burqas around the world have been met with opposition, with some in the Muslim community saying that doing so merely oppresses and speaks for women in other ways.

“By banning the burka or niqab you are preventing some women in freely practising what they believe in,” Dr Raihan Ismail, a lecturer in Middle East Politics and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University told the ABC last year in a discussion on the burka.



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