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>> A mother of eight, a 26-year old, and a former TV journalist. All three women are risking their lives to run in Afghanistan's parliamentary elections. 3 of 417 female candidates more than ever before braving violence and opposition from social conservatives. Saturday's election is seen as a test for the war-torn country.
> If I win, I'm going to create a special judicial committee that can follow up on specific legal cases for women. When you see the situation of women in Afghanistan, you would know, we really need a special focus.>> The campaign is dangerous for women and men alike.
Deadly suicide attacks have targeted election rallies, killing several nominees. Two others have been abducted, and four wounded by hardline Islamist militants. But candidattes like mother of eight, Sargona Balok, haven't been deterred. Her economics degree and work with the UN has seen her win support from many men. But women candidates face additional challenges, sexual harassment, a regular problem that's rarely discussed because of straight social taboos.
Some are forced to invite voters to the safety of their homes and campaign around the city at night. Even if they win, though, the battle to be heard isn't over. At least 68 out of 250 seats are reserved for women in Parliament. That's better female representation than the US Congress.
But many female MPs say they're not taken seriously by their male counterparts, and instead treated as stooges in Parliament. Or puppets that will attract funding from international groups that are committed to promoting gender equality. Despite foreign aid, inequality is rife. Child marriages and so-called honor killings of women are common, and Afghan girls still routinely receive less schooling than boys.