A proposal to amend the census by including the name of a citizen’s mother on ID cards in Afghanistan recently passed a committee and is expected to be signed by the President. A step forward towards women’s rights, this move is seen as symbolic and progressive.
Under the previous law, only a person’s father’s name was included on the ID card. Women will now be able to take care of business transactions and will be able to prove their parental guardianship over their children in government offices, two things that proved difficult without their names on ID cards.
A hashtag known as #WhereIsMyName? went viral and aims to fight misogyny and religious zealots using Islam as a justification for denying a woman’s right to an identity. Laleh Osmany, an early supporter of #WhereIsMyName?, told the New York Times, “Most of the limitations on women in society have no foundation in religion, I realized the depth of that in my four years as a student of Islamic law.”
She continued, “ 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.”
In Afghanistan, women’s names aren’t even on their graves.
A spokesman for the country’s Vice President said the amendment changes the definition of identity and echoed Osmany’s view on the issue saying the amendment “is about restoring the most basic and natural right of women that they are denied.”
The Realist Woman’s take:
Every woman should have an identity outside of their partnership with men. This is and has not just been an issue in Afghanistan but not too long ago, here in the U.S., women didn’t have an identity outside of marriage. Before the 1970s, women couldn’t get a credit card or a loan on their own. And if you were a woman walking alone in the street, men would harass you because you didn’t have a male companion with you. You literally weren’t worth much without a husband, according to our society.
So it’s wonderful to see this change happening for the women of Afghanistan.