June 11, 2012 / / activism

By Guest Contributor Lara Alamad, cross-posted from Muslimah Media Watch

Zarifa Qazizadah. Image: BBC News.

To people of a certain age, the word Supergran might bring to mind a Scottish superhero from the 80′s, but this week a headline about an Afghan “supergran” was a world away from Saturday afternoon TV.

The article tells us that Zarifah Qazizadah is Afghanistan’s only female village chief; in fact, she’s only the second woman to ever hold this position. So what did she do to achieve such a level of authority that is so rarely allowed for women? Certainly her background was not unusual: she had to leave school at the age of 10 (something she regrets, stating that she was always top of the class prior to this), was married in her early teens and went on to have 15 children and subsequently 36 grandchildren.

So, in 2004 when she first ran for office, the men laughed: not only at a woman seeking a role of authority, but also at her claims that she would connect the village to the national grid and providing electricity, something to which only a third of the population of Afghanistan has access.

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