Herat women’s role in peace, development the focus of UN-backed event
HERAT - A series of UN-backed events across Afghanistan to support gender equality and to empower women started this week in Herat with a radio roundtable discussion that focused on the need for women to be fully included in peace processes and development initiatives.
The roundtable participants in the western province stressed the need for concrete measures to include women, particularly rural women, in national processes in keeping with the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan and aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals to leave no one behind.
“Sustainable peace and development must involve everyone, including rural women,” said Aatia Elahi, head of Herat’s Independent Human Rights Commission, arguing that rural women bring a unique perspective to development, but remain one of the most marginalized and isolated groups in the country.
Other participants in the discussion, including representatives from civil society and Herat’s Provincial Peace Council, expressed similar views.
This year, International Women’s Day, marked annually on 8 March, draws attention to the rights, activism and struggles of urban and rural women alike. Rural women often lack access to basic services and job opportunities, and are poorer than their urban counterparts and more susceptible to a life of abuse and violence.
The UN maintains that gender equality is a fundamental human right and that women and girls across Afghanistan, especially rural women and girls, do not fully enjoy equal rights, which hinders their potential as economic, social and sustainable development agents.
The UN in Afghanistan supports the government’s stated efforts to strengthen the implementation of gender commitments in compliance with Afghanistan’s international obligations, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, along with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals initiative.
UNAMA is committed to supporting efforts by the Afghan government and is working with several institutions and actors to promote gender equality, help reverse inequality and support local programmes aimed at expanding opportunities for women.
The Herat radio discussion, broadcast by Mozhde Radio to an audience estimated at 100,000 in and around Herat city, was supported by UNAMA’s regional office in Herat and is part of a country-wide outreach initiative aimed at creating platforms for local communities to engage in dialogue on key issues. Other Women’s Day events and activities are scheduled to take place with the support of UNAMA’s regional offices across Afghanistan.