Towards greater participation of women in decision making roles
KABUL - Women from across Kabul province convened at a UN-backed event to engage with provincial authorities on expanding greater opportunities for women's participating in public decision making processes.
Organized by Kabul regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, the symposium was the last in a series organized in August and September in partnership with Zafar Radio.
Women from four districts of Kabul province came to engage in dialogue with institutions mandated to improve the welfare for women including the Department of Women’s Affairs, the Governor’s gender office and provincial councils among others. The women also used the opportunity to speak to other women through a radio program broadcast by Zafar Radio to listeners in Kabul, Parwan, Logar, Maidan Wardak and other provinces.
Afghan women face many common challenges, notably their absence in decision making roles and positions.
“Women need to be proactive in demanding positions from government” says Marriam Hussaini, a member of the provincial council, “The government alone cannot work for women’s participation in decision making” she argues.
This is exactly what the Paghman Women’s Council is trying to do, says its head, Nilofar Ibrahimkhil. “We are running awareness and advocacy programs with women on their rights and the need to actively participate in social and political processes” explains Ibrahimkhil. “Compared to the past, the current situation has significantly improved, but we are working towards more meaning participation of women“ she said.
For Zulaikha, a deputy for Bagrami Women’s Council, unless men and women work together, society will not progress.
The Afghan government has pledged to increase the presence of women in government institutions to 30 per cent by the year 2020. Currently, women’s participation countrywide is far below this target. The UN in Afghanistan is working with a variety of governance institutions and actors to promote gender equality, help reverse inequality and support local programs aimed at expanding opportunities for women.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.
UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.