Connie asked Nadia Hashimi:

The parliament in Afghanistan is portrayed as being full of warlords and people who committed war crimes. Women who cannot even read are often merely puppets to further the causes of their husbands. Has this situation improved at all?

Nadia Hashimi In Pearl, I created a character, a woman who is illiterate and becomes a parliamentarian as a puppet of her husband. To my knowledge, there are no examples of such a parliamentarian in real life. There may be rumors of such, but none that have really risen to the surface as truth. There are, however, several "former" warlords who have gone on to move from the military sphere to the government sphere. This has been a point of contention for many who hate to see these people in a position of authority.

Back to the women. In actuality, the percentage of female representation in Afghanistan's parliament than in many western nations, US included. The women who are in government are tough and put their lives on the line to be part of their country's future. If you are interested, I would recommend checking out Malalai Joya and Fawzia Koofi. These women are both outspoken and impressive examples of female leaders for change.

Thanks for your interest. I'm glad to be able to clarify this. Happy reading!

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