The Favored Daughter – Guide

About the Author

Fawzia KoofiFawzia Koofi is an Afghan parliamentary lawmaker, accomplished author, and internationally known outspoken advocate for the rights of women and children, democracy, and moderate Islam. She is the first female in the Afghan parliament to be elected as Second Deputy Speaker, and she heads the parliament’s Women Affairs Commission. Not only has Koofi humanized the otherwise faceless international discussion of the struggles and abuse of Afghan women, she is on the forefront of educating the international community as to the consequences for her, and other advocates of reform should the international community and their security forces be withdrawn.

Koofi started her political career in 2001 when she began to promote a “Back To School” campaign targeted at the rights of women in Afghanistan to an education. By 2002 she took employment as a Child Protection Officer with UNICEF, and in 2005 she was elected as a parliamentary representative for Badakhshan province, her native region in the rural mountains of northern Afghanistan.




Exclusive – Fawzia Koofi Extended Interviews

Jon Stewart | The Daily Show | Aired 02/13/13

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.55.22 PMPart 1:  In this exclusive, unedited interview, “The Favored Daughter” author Fawzia Koofi shares her reasons for staying in Afghanistan despite repeated assassination attempts. (6:03)

Part 2:  In this exclusive, unedited interview, Fawzia Koofi breaks down the differences between the Soviet and American invasions of Afghanistan. (4:48)

Part 3:  In this exclusive, unedited interview, Fawzia Koofi explains how the Taliban maintain power in Afghanistan, and learns about Karl Rove. (5:36)



A ‘Favored Daughter’ Fights

For Afghan Women

FEBRUARY 22, 2012 2:58 AM ET | NPR Books

Fawzia Koofi almost died on the day she was born, but survived against all odds and became the first female deputy speaker of Afghanistan’s parliament. Koofi plans to run for president in two years, and in a new memoir, describes her hopes for the country’s future.

[Listen to the Interview]



‘Favored Daughter’: Fawzia Koofi on Making Women’s History in Afghanistan

Women’s Voices for Change | March 20, 2012 by Chris Lombardi

Dear Shuhra and Shaharzad,

There will be times in your life when all hope and strength leave you. Times when you just want to give up and turn your face away from the world. But my darling daughters, giving up is not something our family does.

Fawzia Koofi, a member of the Afghan parliament since 2002, means every word of this excerpt from a letter that appears early in her new book, The Favored Daughter (originally titled Letters to My Daughter). Her book provides abundant evidence that she means it…Koofi marshals that evidence by simply telling her life story—and, with it, the story of her proud nation. [Read More] 


‘The Taliban want to kill me. But I am fighting for my daughters’ freedom’

By Bryony Gordon | The Telegraph | 23 Feb 2012

fawzia-bryony_2147082cFawzia Koofi hopes to be Afghanistan’s first woman president. The Taliban are determined to stop her.

The last time that the Taliban tried to murder Fawzia Koofi, she was in her car with her two young daughters. When the first bullet was fired, they were travelling from the eastern province of Jalalabad to the Afghan capital, Kabul, along a dangerous and narrow road wedged between two mountains and a river. “Everyone was quiet so that we could hear what was going on, and then the next round came.”…

[Read More]


Afghanistan woman parliamentarian shares dreams for new nation

by Leigh Cuen |  WNN Reviews | 27 Aug 2012

“This is what I live for…,” Koofi writes. “…And what I know I will die for.”

With the help of journalist Nadene Ghouri, Koofi immortalized her story, her mother’s story, and a simultaneously feminist and traditional perspective of Islam in Afghanistan. The book does raise several contradictions. [Read More]


Women In Afghanistan

Women’s rights in Afghanistan have been often been ‘one step forward – two steps back’ with obstacles that have forced advocates inside the country, including Parliament Member Fawzia Koofi, to work harder each day to reach their goals. Koofi and numerous other women in the region work to bring their ideas forward in this 4:59 min August 2012 video. This video also highlights the specific work of Actionaid in Afghanistan.


The Observer | 13 January 2013
When the troops withdraw from Afghanistan next year, many fear a terrible backlash. Tracy McVeigh meets seven women who rebuilt their lives after Taliban oppression – and finds them at risk once more. [Read More]



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Discussion Questions

(We also have some great questions for Non-Fiction here)

  1. Why was Fowzia’s mother so sad about her birth that she left Fowzia to die?
  2. Who tries to kill Fowzia’s father and who protects the family when they flee from their home? Why is this so ironic?
  3. The Taliban regime is described as “Islamic Fundamentalist”. What does this mean?
  4. When the Taliban were driven out in 2001, why did the women stand to gain the most?
  5. Why are international forces in Afghanistan resented by some of the people yet embraced by others?
  6. Do you believe Fowzia is courageous? Would you be willing to speak out as Fowzia does?





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