’Our parliament is a collection of lords’

Of Canada’s 308 MPs, 69 are presently women. Of Afghanistan’s 249 MPs, 68 are women.

And so it is somehow true that Afghanistan’s Parliament has a higher percentage of women than ours does.

And that despite everything detailed in this remarkable piece from the Guardian. Some excerpts.

The Afghan MP Shukria Barakzai receives regular death threats for speaking out on women’s issues…

Barakzai receives frequent but cryptic warnings about planned suicide attacks on her car, but no help from the government. Officials advise her to stay at home and not go to work, but offer nothing in the way of security assistance, despite her requests. She said warlords in parliament who received similar threats were immediately provided with armoured vehicles, armed guards and a safe house by the government…

In parliament, she says, she is often greeted with screams of “kill her” when she stands up to speak, and she has had no shortage of personal threats from fellow MPs.

They visit her privately to tell her she will be killed if she continues to speak out on such issues as the right of a woman to have a personal passport (separate from the standard “family passport”) or against compulsory virginity tests for young women, and the right of a man to have custody of a child at two years old. It is not only men who oppose women in parliament – both Barakzai and Karokhail have faced obstruction from other female MPs on key women’s issues.

The conventional wisdom seems to be that only negotiation with the Taliban will bring about any kind of resolution in that country. Note that Barakzai and Karokhail raise some very reasonable objections.