In Afghanistan, the rest of your life depends very much on one thing -- whether you arrived into the world as a boy, or as a girl -- TONIGHT, September 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET DALLAS, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Tonight's "Dan Rather Reports" exposes the surprising lengths some Afghan families will go to, in order to allow normally unthinkable freedoms for their young daughters by disguising them as Afghan boys. Despite decades of Western involvement in Afghanistan, a practice that lies just below the surface of society has largely escaped the outside world. Through months of investigative, on-the-ground reporting, "Dan Rather Reports" was able to trace a practice that reveals how families try to create a better life for their children in a country where ancient traditions rule, and where sons are valued higher than daughters. In interviews, dozens of Afghans confirmed that they were familiar with what they called a well-known practice, and told stories about female relatives and friends who had grown up as boys. But in a country where there is very little official data and where family life is strictly private, nobody knows how many girls live in Afghanistan, passing for boys. One woman chose to step forward and speak on camera, offering a unique and intimate portrait of her own family. Azita Rafaat survived thirty years of war in Afghanistan, a forced marriage, abuse and attacks by militants. She went on to become one of Afghanistan's most powerful women, taking a seat in the national parliament. But not even a woman like her can escape the deeply rooted rules of the world's most repressive society for women. She tells a candid story about what drove her to turn her youngest daughter into a son before the outside world, and how it changed her family's life. More from the producer of this story, along with a video clip can be found at the following link on The New York Times website: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/world/asia/21gender.html?_r=1&hp "Dan Rather Reports: A Family Secret" premieres on HDNet, TONIGHT, September 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET with an encore at 11:00 p.m. ET.