DoWA and UNAMA want increased women participation in civil service
15 February 2010 - Provincial authorities, community elders and women in Dai Kundi province met recently to discuss how to promote women participation in the civil service.
The two-day workshop was held by the Department of Women’s Affairs (DoWA) in Dai Kundi to provide space for detailed discussion between government authorities, religious scholars, community elders and women to talk on possible ways to encourage more women involvement in government departments.
Dai Kundi is a newly established and remote province in central Afghanistan. According to DoWA figures, the province has only 15 per cent female employees in eight district offices and 32 provincial departments with only few women in management positions.
However, Afghanistan’s first female mayor was appointed in Dai Kundi province.
“Women participation in the civil service is important for good governance,” said Sultan Ali Uruzgani, governor of Dai Kundi province.
The Governor assured participants that his administration will do its best to employ more women in the departments.
“I will not allow any discrimination for women in the employment process and the workplace,” he said.
Hawa Rezayee, head of the Women Affairs Department, told UNAMA that it was the first such meeting in the province which raised firm commitments from both the provincial authorities and community elders to encourage women participation in the civil administration.
“The problems women employees face in the workplace (are) not limited to Dai Kundi. It is a country-wide issue (and) we are happy to have organized this meeting and (to) raise this issue. We will do an extensive follow-up of this matter,” added Ms Rezayee.
The workshop, which had over 70 participants, included community elders from the provincial capital and remote districts. Sohrab Etimadi, head of the Provincial Council, was among them.
“When we understand that women are half of our society, we need to find means to involve them in all affairs of life,” said Mr Etimadi.
UNAMA provided funding for the workshop as part of the mission’s ongoing outreach efforts.
“This initiative was timely as there have been increasing reports over the last year of violations against women. It was also intended to mobilise resources further to speed up the process and to expand opportunities for women’s education and employment by taking advantage of the overall climate of gender tolerance in Dai Kundi,” said Heran Song, head of the UNAMA office in Bamyan.
Afghanistan’s first woman mayor, Azra Jaffari, was also among the participants. She stressed that “women should not be recruited as symbol of gender balance only.”
“They should be employed for their skills and their employment should have a good effect in the organization. It’s also up to women to perform well and show that women can do a good job with same wage,” added Ms Jaffari.
Religious scholars were also invited to the meeting to throw light on the issue from an Islamic perspective.
“Islam allows women to get out of their houses and work shoulder to shoulder with men to help build society,” said Fazili, head of the Religious Scholar’s Council in Dai Kundi.
By Jaffar Rahim, UNAMA