1. To introduce the lesson, ask students how familiar they are with the geography and recent history of Afghanistan, and with the Muslim religion. Correct any misconceptions students have, and offer them a brief overview of the country, its war-torn history, and, in general the involvement of the United States in Afghanistan since September 11, 2001.
2. Tell the students that, as a class, they will be mounting a “Women of Afghanistan” Day in their school. (This event might be confined in the classroom, or it might involve other teachers and students in the school—this depends on issues like teacher-interest, time, resources, etc.)
3. Then, using the print and web resources listed below, as well as any others that students might find, assign groups of students to do the following:
- Research the history of Afghanistan
- Research the “place” of women in traditional Afghan society
- Research the “place” of women in Islam
- Research the history of the Taliban
- Research the history of the takeover by the Taliban in 1996
- Research the lives of women under the Taliban
- Research the lives of women since the fall of the Taliban
- Research the achievements as well as the struggles of Afghan women today
4. This research should be shared among students and the teacher in a series of conversations about what they are finding. As they participate in such conversations, students should be thinking about creative ways to share their information and conclusions with others in the context of a “Women of Afghanistan” Day in their school. The primary medium for the day should be large posters that tell the story of women in Afghanistan, but PowerPoint presentations, video, essays, poetry, or other forms of expression can also be used.
5.The lesson culminates in the staging of a “Women of Afghanistan” Day, an event that enables the students who have done this research to become “experts” on what is happening to women in Afghanistan.
Armstrong, Sally. Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003.
Delloye, Isabelle. Women of Afghanistan. St. Paul, MN: Ruminator Books Press, 2003.
Skaine, Rosemarie. The Women of Afghanistan Under the Taliban. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2001.
Background on Afghanistan
Women in Islam
History of the Taliban
Women in Afghanistan--Historical Abuses of Women's (Human) Rights
The Taliban and Afghan Women--Background
Restrictions on Afghan Women Under the Taliban
Radio Address on Afghan Women by Laura Bush, November 17, 2001
Mrs. Bush Highlights Women's Achievements in Afghanistan, March 30, 2005
Laura Bush Praises Afghan Women
U.S.-Afghan Women's Council
Mrs. Bush and the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council
U.S. Commitment to Women in Afghanistan
The Plight of Afghan Women
More Resources on Afghan Women
Laura Bush, Women, and Realities of Afghanistan--An Opposite View
This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.