Anahita Ratebzad

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Anahita Ratebzad
Deputy Chairman of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council
In office
27 December 1980 – 24 November 1985
President Babrak Karmal
Member of the Politburo of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
In office
Personal details
Born October 1931
Guldara, Kabul Province, Afghanistan
Died 7 September 2014(2014-09-07) (aged 82)

Anahita Ratebzad (October 1931 – 7 September 2014) was a Socialist/Marxist Afghan politician and a member of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) and the Revolutionary Council.[1] Ratebzad was Afghanistan's deputy head of state from 1980 to 1986.[1]

Ratebzad was the first Afghan woman to play an active role in government and one of the few Afghan women to become a medical doctor.[citation needed] Born in Guldara in Kabul province, Ratebzad attended the Malalai Lycée in Kabul. She received a degree in nursing from the Chicago School of Nursing and an M.D. degree from Kabul University. She became involved in leftist politics and, along with Khadija Ahrari, Masuma Esmati Wardak, and Roqia Abubakr, was one of the first four women elected to parliament in 1965.[citation needed]

Ratebzad was one of the first publicly outspoken social and political Afghan-women activists, specially in the late 50s and most of 60s in Afghanistan. In 1957 in Kabul she led a group of five women who, for the first time in Afghanistan, uncovered their faces and went to work, publicly. Another distinctive aspect of this event was that all of them were nurses, Ratebzad being at the same time the head of a women's hospital as-well, they went to the largest public hospital in Afghanistan, Aliabad Hospital, which at that time was a men-only hospital, and attended the men, which for itself was an unprecedented act for that period. This event can be seen as one of the moments in Afghan history from which Afghan-women started proclaiming and asserting their public working identity, what, until that time, was a men-only domain.

Ratebzad was a part of the first Afghan-women delegation representing the Kingdom of Afghanistan to attend an international Conference. It was the Bandung Conference in 1955 in Indonesia in which for the first time 29 Asian and African countries termed themselves the “Third World” and which subsequently also became the Non-Aligned Movement.

A founder of the PDPA, she was active in the Parcham wing of that party. She served as ambassador to Belgrade (1978–1980), minister of social affairs (1978–1979), and minister of education (1979–1980).[citation needed] After 1986 she remained in Afghanistan until the May of 1992 by which time the Mujahideen were in power. Ratebzad and some members of her family were forced to escape the Mujahideen in-fighting as many more Afghans did at the time and went to New Delhi, India. As the situation deteriorated in Afghanistan, in 1995 she left for Sofia, Bulgaria and an year later, after seeking political asylum, settled in a small town close to the city of Dortmund, Germany, where she remained until her death.

Ratebzad wrote the May 28, 1978 New Kabul Times editorial which declared: "Privileges which women, by right, must have are equal education, job security, health services, and free time to rear a healthy generation for building the future of the country ... Educating and enlightening women is now the subject of close government attention."[2] She died on 7 September 2014.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "زن پیشتاز جنبش چپ افغانستان؛ تصاویری از زندگی آناهیتا راتب‌زاد". 2014-09-17. Retrieved 2014-09-17. 
  2. ^ Prashad, Vijay (2001-09-15). "War Against the Planet". ZMag. Archived from the original on 2008-01-27. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  • Arnold, Anthony. Afghanistan's Two-Party Communism: Parcham and Khalq. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1983.