Women’s crucial role in government spotlighted in UN-backed radio debates in Afghanistan’s north
KUNDUZ - More Afghan women must work in government, especially on provincial development programmes, said panellists in a series of debates broadcast via radio in the north-eastern provinces of Kunduz and Takhar.
The objective of the radio programming, supported by the Kunduz regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), was to promote development at the sub-national level by focusing on gender-responsive governance and gender equality.
Panellists from government offices, provincial councils and civil society organizations discussed the current status and main challenges for Afghan women in engaging in socio-economic and cultural activities in the provinces.
Ms Zargul Aleemi, the Secretary of the Kunduz Provincial Council, said the main challenge for qualified women is recruitment to key positions. She said local authorities could do much more to recruit women into government posts and include them in key decision-making processes.
“Based on our observations, male candidates get positions when competing for them,” said Ms Aleemi.
According to Ms Razmara Hawash, the director of Takhar’s Department of Women’s Affairs, some 8,000 women are actively engaged in health services, economic activities and public awareness in her province.
“It’s not enough,” she said. “We, the women, want our presence at managerial level and want to act as decision-makers and be involved strongly in good governance and development.”
UNAMA has been working with the government and with advocacy groups to strengthen gender-responsive governance through outreach activities organized to contribute to raise awareness of women’s roles and to advocate for women’s engagement and participation in provincial government activities.
The roundtable debates were organized in collaboration with Radio Kunduz and Radio Raihan in Kunduz and Taloqan, and reached an estimated 300,000 people.
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.