2. Asia: South and Central
In Afghanistan, a new Internet cafe and haven for women will have its grand opening in honor of International Women’s Day. The cafe, located in Kabul, is dedicated to Sahar Gul, an Afghan woman who was forced to marry at 14 and was abused by her in-laws. “She claimed not only her body and womanhood, but also her freedom as she resisted for months under torture and inhumane treatment,” writes Young Women for Change, the NGO hosting the event and opening the new cafe, which aims to help Afghan women communicate and connect.
Meanwhile, one event in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, takes friendly competition to a new level. The celebration includes contests in dry-flower arrangement, drama, cooking and dining. In Islamabad, a consortium of NGOs, government affiliates, and private enterprises are joining in the first “Women at Work” festival. The five-day celebration, kicking off on today, includes more than 100 stalls staffed by female workers from “all walks of life,” and also features traditional food, art, and entertainment.
The Turkmenistan government will honor mothers by awarding a special title and badge to women with eight or more children, according to The Times of Central Asia. More than 160 Turkmen women are expected to receive the award this year, which may include perks like free tooth replacements and public transportation.
+ Central Asia has achieved gender parity for secondary education, according to the 2011 Millennium Development Goal report.
– Data from 57 countries show that when women are a part of the police force, more citizens report incidents of sexual assault, according to UN Women. In South Asia, however, women make up, on average, 3 percent of the region’s police.