But even though she’s run two successful parliamentary campaigns and has taken on conservative members of Afghan society, she is shocked by how easily some male members of parliament are now publicly threatening their female counterparts in the middle of parliamentary meetings. 

“A [male] member of parliament stood up in our general meeting yesterday and said parliament is not a place for women, your time is up here, you must not pursue this fight for women’s rights,” says Ms. Barakzai.

For many of the Afghan women leaders, dealing with sexism and discrimination isn’t anything new. But women's rights activists say that male parliamentarians have recently intensified a war of words inside parliament. It’s a war that many Afghan women worry echoes a greater issue in society and could reverse public tolerance and support for women’s rights.