Participation of women in public life necessary for Afghanistan’s development

25 Jul 2019

Participation of women in public life necessary for Afghanistan’s development

FAIZABAD –  The participation of women in political and national processes is necessary for Afghanistan's development, say participants of a UNAMA-backed event in Faizabad, capital of the north-eastern Badakhshan province.

"Empowering women must be a priority of the Afghan Government," said Alina Ghyasi, Director of the Badakhshan Department of Women Affairs, one of 30 prominent women representing civil society, media, electoral and provincial authorities who came together to discuss the rights of women.

Mariam Amwaj, another participant, called for more substantive roles for women in public institutions. "Government should put an end to the symbolic roles given to women. Women need equal opportunities to participate in decision making roles and access to political, economic and all other rights."

The rights of women in Afghanistan have improved in the last two decades but much is still to be done. Through policies such as the Elimination of all forms of Violence Against Women and the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan, the Afghan Government has taken steps to empower women and boost their participation and inclusion in public life.

Nonetheless, many factors and structural barriers continue to undermine the rights of women. Poverty, violence, illiteracy, and harmful traditional practices hinder women's progress and self-determination. In rural areas, even fewer women participate or benefit from public policies; most of them remain marginalized, impoverished and isolated.

The UN is committed to efforts to empower women and is working with a variety of institutions and actors to promote gender equality, as well as supporting local programmes aimed at expanding opportunities for women, including access to education and participation in democratic and peacebuilding processes.

In their closing remarks, panelists affirmed women's participation at every level of public life and decision-making processes as being consistent with Afghanistan's Constitution, religious values and the country's development priorities.

The event was covered by Radio Sada-e-Banowan and Radio Hareem-e-Zan, reaching around 400,000.