Afghan legislator to be here for Women's Day

The Capital Times (Madison, WI), March 4, 2006
Samara Kalk Derby

In Afghanistan, where for years the Taliban denied girls an education and women are hidden behind burqas, nearly a third of the 351 members of parliament are now women.

Afghanistan's first parliament in more than 30 years commenced in December and among the parliamentarians was 27-year-old Malalai Joya.

Joya gained international fame when, at the 2002 constitutional loya jirga, or grand council, she spoke out against warlords. She denounced the powerful jihadi leaders and commanders as criminals and blamed them for the destructive factional fighting of the 1990s.

The Afghan parliamentarian will be in Madison next week to celebrate International Women's Day with a 6:30 p.m. speech Wednesday at Great Hall in the Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St. A $5 donation is requested.

Joya will speak on "Afghan Women's Resistance to War and Fundamentalism."

The International Women's Day celebration will include spoken word performances by Katrina Flores and Tracie Gilbert, and music and dance by the Omulu Capoeira Group. Call 257-7230.

Joya will also speak at noon Thursday at the UW Center for South Asia, 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive. That speech is titled "Women's Role in Nation Building: An Afghan Experience."