The Importance of Family

Brendan, Chris, Ashley, and Maddie

Family Structure

Afghan families are both patriarchal and patrilineal, meaning that both fathers and husbands are the heads of the household and family lineages are passed through the males of the family. Women marry into their husband's family, and men can have multiple wives, although polygamy has become less common. The extended family is the main economical and social unit in Afghan society.

Important Aspects of Family Life

Families in Afghanistan place emphasis on cohesiveness and the ability to rely on one another for support. Respect is an essential tenant of Afghan family life, and age, gender,and motherhood are all well-respected. Divorce is usually avoided, and Afghan families look to extend their kinship networks through respect.

Role of Women

Women usually serve as housekeepers and caretakers of children in Afghan society. Women only partake in everyday jobs when their husbands are away, and it is seen as a sign of social disintegration when women do not act traditionally. While men are usually the head of the house, senior women are respected and oversee the food supply of the household.

Role of Men

Men are generally seen as superior in Afghan society, and therefore make the major life decisions for the family. Men in rural societies work as farmers, tending to the crops and livestock. In urban societies, men have jobs outside of the house. Men are expected to provide for the women and children of the household.