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Afghan lawmaker Saima Khogyiani from Nangarhar poses under pictures of former Presidents of Afghanistan's lower house in the parliament in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 26, 2014.
Under Afghan law, 20 percent of council member seats are reserved for women, who are also figuring prominently in presidential campaigns.
Three presidential hopefuls have taken the bold step of choosing a woman as a running mate, including one of the front-runners.
Credit: Anja Niedringhaus/AP
Afghan lawmaker Toorpekai Patman from Kabul poses next to guards of honor in the parliament in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 26, 2014 .
In the last elections in 2010, 69 women won seats in Afghanistan’s 249-seat parliament.
The next parliamentary vote will be held in 2015, but first are the April 5 presidential and provincial council elections.
Afghan lawmaker Fatema Aziz from Kunduz poses under an oil painting in the parliament in Kabul, March 26, 2014.
When the Taliban ruled, women rarely left their home. When they did venture beyond their four walls, they wafted through crowded markets covered from head to toe in the all-encompassing burqa.
While most women in conservative Afghanistan may still wear the burqa, today’s Afghan woman has choices she never had before, like running for parliament.
Afghan lawmaker Hamida Ahmadzai, who represents Afghanistan’s colorful Kuchi, poses for a picture inside the Afghan parliament in Kabul, March 26, 2014.
“In our Parliament we have 69 women, that is a large number, bigger even than European parliaments,” Hamida says.