Defending Afghan Women’s Right

I cannot let this year ends without commendation of the relentless efforts of the Afghan Women’s Network (AWN) to lobby for women’s right ever since 1995. They are determined to see that Afghan women (half of the population) are included in all national and international peace negotiations. They are making sure that organizers of the International Conference on Afghanistan which was held in Bonn last September include a significant number of women in leadership position, their achievements and their struggles for equal rights and freedom in the building of a better future for Afghanistan. The Network mobilizes for support under the slogan “You can’t build peace by leaving out half of the population”. Their main target is to have 30% inclusion of women within the leadership and management of the High Peace Council. They have noted with dissatisfaction the low number of women who participate in leadership position (about 13% on the High Peace Council and 10-15% on the Provincial Peace Council). They urge that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to get a stronger mandate to improve women’s participation in crafting the future of Afghanistan. Defending women’s right in Afghanistan is not an easy task. Often, it is out right dangerous undertaking. The presence of men with guns in many transitional provinces has created fear among the populations, especially the parents who have pulled out their sons and daughters from schools and other public social services. Girl’s schools have been reported to receive threatening letters. In Afghanistan, defenders of women’s right, the parents and local teachers need security protection which the local Afghan government cannot fully provide. Worst, the communities do not trust the integrity of national security force. They are afraid that when the Coalition Force withdraw from Afghanistan, women and girls will be targeted for attack by the Taliban and/or subject to rape and abuse at the hands of the national security forces. It is my hope that in 2012, the Afghan Government and their international supporters will have the capacity to provide adequate security to Afghan women and girls including their protectors from harms by the Taliban and other conservative forces in Afghan society. I want to celebrate the bravery and determination of the Afghan Women’s Network for the success of their activities in 2012.

Comments (2)

Gopi RaoMarch 8th, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Dear Mallica, I am sure you have read about the religious council in Afghanistan having issued a directive on the place of women in Afghan society and that his was endorsed by President Karzai. It seems that the directive / fatwa / or whatever one calls it, is a retrograde step and is one which the Taliban would be happy with. One can only sympathise with all the progressive Afghan women who will be lamenting this development. What are your thoughts?


mallicaMarch 19th, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Dear Gopi,
Thanks for the time you spent reading my Blog on Defending Afghan Women’s Right. The situation in Afghanistan for women is worrisome. Karzai’s compromising with the Taliban on women’s right issue is deadly. I know of groups of Afghan women that are fighting on this issue. We have to join them in not allowing the Taliban in turning back the clock.

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