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Student Master's Thesis Project - Share your thoughts

 
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vic



Joined: 30 Jul 2006
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 2:39 am    Post subject: Student Master's Thesis Project - Share your thoughts Reply with quote

I've exchanged a few emails with Sarah who is writing her master's thesis "....for my MBA on gender equality as a necessary vehicle for growth and prosperity of Afghanistan. I discovered this site today and am absolutely thrilled to have a forum to discuss gender issues.

I lived in Kabul from 1969 thru 1973 and graduated from the American International School of Kabul. My dream for the past 33 years, 2 months, and 6 days has been to return to Afghanistan and do something worthwhile to give back to the country which gave so much to me in my youth. More later."

I encouraged her to email registered users with questions, etc. She responded:

"Thanks, Vic. I must confess to being a bit intimidated by all the professionals here, but shortly I will be posting an abstract and perhaps even a poll or question. There is so much literature out there it's overwhelming. I am hoping some firsthand perspectives from folks actually living and working in Afghanistan will lend originality to my paper.

I hope everyone is safe and that peace and freedom will soon be a reality in all of Afghanistan."

Sarah, send us your questions. Please, don't feel intimidated. This cafe is designed to be inclusive, welcoming and an active site for knowledge sharing. It's great to have you here. Warm regards, Vic
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sarah



Joined: 21 Sep 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sent in my final project (thesis) proposal two weeks ago. The proposal consists of the first 3 chapters (introduction, literature review, and methodology). It was approved today with no recommended revisions and the faculty stated that “This is one of the most interesting proposals/final papers that I have ever had the pleasure of reviewing for KWU and beyond. Wow!” Yikes! Now I actually have to finish it! I will be posting an abstract within the next few weeks to give you an idea of the thesis and purpose, followed by some polls (as soon as I figure out what I need to ask!).

To those of you fortunate enough to be in Afghanistan, I hope you are safe and that security and prosperity will soon reign in that beautiful country.
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vic



Joined: 30 Jul 2006
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:18 pm    Post subject: Congratulations Reply with quote

Sarah, that's great news. I hope you'll continue to use The Afghan Gender Cafe to report on your progress and to invite people to participate on your project. You can privately email any registered member. If you have questions, comments, etc. that you'd like to be included in the periodic updates I send out, let me know. It's my hope that this site will serve to strengthen your research and help to generate understanding and knowledge about conditions in Afghanistan. Warm regards, Vic
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sarah



Joined: 21 Sep 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, here goes! The title of my thesis is:

EMPLOYMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP FOR AFGHAN WOMEN

GENDER EQUALITY AS A NECESSARY VEHICLE FOR THE PROSPERITY AND

ECONOMIC GROWTH OF AFGHANISTAN


I am writing this thesis in order to fulfill the requirements for a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Kennedy-Western University. So far I have completed the first 3 chapters which consist of an introduction, a review of related literature, and the methodology used in the research. Having had my topic and proposal approved, I now need to complete the final 2 chapters (data analysis and conclusion).

In the methodology portion of the proposal I stated that one to the approaches used in this study “consists of an exchange of emails and participation in forum discussions with aid workers currently living and working in Afghanistan. These first hand accounts provide an opportunity to survey individual observations and perspectives that are typically not expressed in academic literature or development reports.”

The following paragraphs are excerpts from the thesis proposal and summarize the purpose and scope of the study:

The purpose of the study is to demonstrate that without gender equality, Afghanistan’s future will continue to be one of social and economic instability, and development will suffer as a result. The research will show that gender equality is not just for the benefit of women, but for the sake of families, the growth of the economy, and for society as a whole. It is, in fact, the key to bringing Afghanistan out of the darkness and back into the radiance of its former unique beauty.

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries of the world. Three decades of war has left the infrastructure in ruins, the livestock and crops diseased if not decimated, and the landscape littered with landmines. Over half of the population is female, many of them widows, yet inadequate attention has been paid to involving women in the rebuilding and development of their country. In spite of a constitution that grants women equal rights and twenty-five percent representation in the parliament, women continue to suffer oppression and discrimination in a patriarchal society that persistently abuses religious law to justify female subjugation. Now, in the sixth year since the fall of the Taliban from power, what needs to be done to empower women, and convince men, to realize that prosperity cannot be achieved without allowing women access to employment and business opportunities? And, just as importantly, how can this be done within the context of an extremely conservative and religious society without causing more social upheaval and extremist backlash?

This study will review the historical participation of Afghan women in business and employment as well as their involvement in politics and economic development. The researcher will also give an overview of the current situation for women in Afghanistan in terms of employment and business opportunities, with some mention of their current participation in the political process. A discussion of the various obstacles confronting women will also be presented along with proposals to overcome these barriers. Additionally, it will be shown, through studies and examples, that women who are educated and free are more able to help provide for their families and contribute to society as a whole.

Finally, it will be demonstrated that unless gender equity is an eventual goal and outcome of Afghanistan’s economic and social policies, the country will continue to suffer from poverty and underdevelopment. Unless a change in the way society regards the role of women is encouraged, at least one half of the population will continue to live under oppression. It will also be stressed that change must come from within the country and embraced by most Afghans. Attempts to force western style democracy or radical feminism upon the Afghans will undoubtedly prove to be counterproductive. Therefore, it is important to recognize that efforts and programs to provide Afghan women with business and economic opportunities must proceed with care. An understanding of, and respect for, the religious and cultural factors that present barriers to gender equality is essential for any western aid worker who is committed to helping Afghan women achieve economic success.
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As a start, I would like to pose this question to all who would like to respond (more queries to follow):

From your observation and experience, does income earning lead to social empowerment and greater gender equity? If so, what tangible evidence is there and if not, what more needs to be done to achieve those goals?
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Sara



Joined: 30 Jul 2006
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Last edited by Sara on Wed Jan 10, 2007 9:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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sarah



Joined: 21 Sep 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Sara! I see by your profile that you work for CARE. My Dad was a surgeon/teacher for CARE/Medico at Avicenna Hospital from '69 to '73. I was happy to learn last year that the hospital is still running. Does Medico still have a program there?

Anyway, about my paper. Yikes! I am overwelmed with data from UN reports, World Bank reports, Human Rights reports, etc. Not to mention dozens of books, hundreds of journal articles, and thousands of magazine and newspaper articles. I am having a hard time piecing it all together. I am steering away from statistics and pretty much analyzing qualitative data and using the historical method of research. Following is an excerpt from the Methodology section of my paper which may answer part of your query:


Quote:
Approach:
The process of developing this thesis entailed a concentrated focus on assembling information that directly related to the topic and accurately supported the purpose and importance of the study.
Several approaches were used in researching the topic. The first consisted of reviewing journal articles and books written since 2001 relating to the political, social, and economic climate of Afghanistan. The writer felt it important to narrow the information to the most current. Since the Taliban was removed from power, more emphasis has been placed on looking at development problems using a broader perspective and including cultural considerations in policy decisions. Additionally, so much has been written in recent years, there was a need to draw a chronological line. The end of authoritarian rule and the hopeful beginnings of a new democracy seemed an appropriate line. The articles that provided the most information about the economic status of women were filtered from a large pool of academic literature.
A second approach involved collecting and examining presentations and reports since 2001 that addressed development challenges for Afghanistan. These compilations contained statements of problems along with recommendations and action plans. Those that either specifically addressed gender issues or had a substantial section devoted to the topic were sifted from the collection.
The third approach used in this study consists of an exchange of emails and participation in forum discussions with aid workers currently living and working in Afghanistan. These first hand accounts provide an opportunity to survey individual observations and perspectives that are typically not expressed in academic literature or development reports.


You asked me:
Quote:
Will you develop some type of tool like an "empowerment index"?


Yikes again! In a word, no. To be honest, my thesis is more of a long research paper than a "scientific" study using quantitive data or specific tools to measure actions and results. Maybe when I go for my PhD and write a dissertation.......!

At the risk of sounding shallow, I would appreciate any anecdotes you could throw at me. I am looking for stories of women who have overcome obstacles and have been successful in business, or suggestions on how to effectively convince men that encouraging and enabling women to help provide for the family is in the best interest of the community. Really, any first hand observations on anything relating to empowering women including the problems and resistance encountered would be extremely helpful, particularly when I get to the conclusion section of my paper.

I am planning on joining a group of AISK alumni for a trip to Kabul in October (enshallah). I do wish my timing were better so I could include my own observations as well!
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