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Thursday, 16 October 2014 - 11:35
Afghanistan first lady Rula Ghani moves into the limelight
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Afghanistan's new first lady Rula Ghani looks set to challenge the tradition of leaders' wives staying out of the public eye.

Just days after moving into her new office in the presidential palace, Mrs Ghani said she hopes to encourage greater respect for women.

"I would like to give women out there the courage and the possibility to do something about improving their lives," she said.

Mrs Ghani has already begun to break the mould.

During the election campaign of her husband, Ashraf Ghani - the eventual winner of the 2014 presidential race - Rula Ghani was the only candidate's wife to appear in public.

And when the new leader paid an emotional tribute to his wife in his inauguration speech, it became a talking point for the whole country.

Mrs Ghani says it was a revealing gesture which summed up her vision of how attitudes to women could change.



Rula Ghani as a student in 1969 after returning from France



Rula and Ashraf Ghani with their children, her late mother and brother Riad in 2012



Mrs Ghani will run her office from the presidential palace in Kabul


Meeting of minds



  • What makes Mrs Ghani stand out even more is the fact that she was born and brought up in a Maronite-Christian family in Lebanon.
  • She met Ashraf Ghani in the 1970s when they were both studying political science at the American university in Beirut.
  • Rula Ghani had just returned from a year's study at the prestigious Sciences Po institute in Paris where she was caught up in the 1968 student protests.

Source: BBC
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