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Irony In International Women's Day

International Women's Day should be a time to acknowledge and celebrate the historic achievements of women throughout the world but sadly women's rights are still repressed in many countries, National's Women's Affairs spokeswoman Anne Tolley said today.

"It is ironic that at the beginning of a new century there is almost universal international condemnation of the Taleban in Afghanistan for their determination to destroy ancient monuments of Buddha, while basic human rights are denied to all Afghani women and girls.

"Afghani females are not allowed to have paid jobs with the exception of traditional craft industries; they are not allowed to attend university; they are not allowed to walk outside their homes without a male escort; they are not allowed to drive a car; they are not allowed to use birth control; they are told whom to marry and when; and they can be ruthlessly cast aside or killed for minor reasons. They are denied any of the freedoms Western women take for granted - even the freedom to take a walk in the sunshine alone.

"Why are these international governments so forthright about the protection of ancient Buddha, and yet so silent about 50% of the population terrorised and bullied beyond endurance? Where is the international support for the women who are living under such tyranny?

"New Zealand was the first country to acknowledge the equal rights of women by giving women the right to vote. We are a leading light in women's rights and New Zealand women should be vocal in our condemnation of this evil," Mrs Tolley said.


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