William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice


Isaac Kfir


Cultural and religious practices are critical to explaining Afghanistan’s dreadful reputation concerning the preservation, protection, and promotion of women’s rights. Those advocating misogynistic practices assert that the calls for reforms challenge their religion and culture, while also claiming that many women’s issues exist within the private realm. Accordingly, they assert that reforms that aim at addressing disempowerment are not vital to the state and go beyond the established limits of state authority. Building on feminist legal theory, which distinguishes between the public and private spheres, I argue in Afghanistan misogynistic and discriminatory practices stem from contrived cultural and religious norms. Using the notion of state strength, this Paper advances the idea that the discourses countering the lack of official action in ending discrimination must emphasize that unless women’s role in contemporary Afghan society is strengthened, the state will continue to remain weak.