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This is a pretty in depth question. The position of women changed not only by the leader of the nation, but also by geographic region. The most consistent city in which the reader can experience change in a woman's status is within Kabul. When Mariam first moves to Kabul, she is astonished by the "modern women", though most women do not seem to act in this manner. These women wear makeup, drive, and hold professional positions. When communists rule, there is a reference to more gender equality in education. When the Taliban comes to power, women are caged in their homes and their basic human rights are violated. When the Taliban falls and the coalition comes to power, women are given back their legal human rights, but it is a slow move to equality. Fariba stays in Afghanistan because she wishes to see the fight that killed her sons end in their favor. Hakim will not leave Afghanistan without her, and Laila for most of her life, was too young to decide otherwise. After Tariq leaves for Afghanistan, Laila decides to stay to please her father. Mariam remained in Afghanistan after killing Rasheed in order to spare the lives of Laila, Tariq, and their children. Laila and Tariq return to Afghanistan to contribute to the rebuilding of their home nation.