Women’s political empowerment the focus of UN-backed radio programme
NILI - Women’s participation in political processes is crucial for advancing Afghanistan toward a more stable and prosperous country, said panellists during a UN-backed radio programme in the central highlands province of Daikundi.
During the discussion, broadcast by local media outlet Radio Nasim, panellists strategized on measures to make women’s empowerment consistent, deliberate and long-term. They stressed that women’s participation at every level of Afghanistan’s social and political life is consistent with Afghanistan’s constitution, its electoral laws, its religious values and the country’s development priorities.
Mohammad Ahmadi, chair of Daikundi’s council of religious scholars and one of the panellists in the programme, said that many women have played leading roles throughout Islamic history. “Islam places no restriction on women’s role in society, including in politics,” he said.
Ahmadi underlined the important role religious scholars should play in promoting women’s political participation. “Society in Afghanistan is religious and traditional,” he said. “Religious scholars set standards for the communities and should play a role in eliminating harmful traditions that hinder women’s participation in society.”
Sodaba Mowahedi, a women’s rights activist in Daikundi, described women’s participation in the province’s electoral process as good, but questioned their independent right to vote.
“It’s usually the head of the family and the community elder who tell women how to vote,” Mowahedi said, stressing that community leaders should promote equal participation of women in the political system to benefit from their views and experience.
During the lively discussion, the three panellists agreed on the importance of refining systematic, long-term strategies in public information and education to raise women’s awareness, interest and subsequent participation in the province’s politics.
Daikundi, like the other parts of central highlands region, has a relatively conducive environment for women’s political participation. However, the province’s potential to champion women’s advancement has yet to be harnessed because of largely unchecked harmful traditional practices, women’s limited access to justice and minimal awareness about women’s rights.
Supported by UNAMA’s Bamyan regional office, the radio discussion, broadcast to an audience estimated at 60,000 in and around Nili, Daikundi’s capital, was supported by UNAMA as part of a series of outreach programmes to create platforms – using radio, television, and social media – for Afghans to engage in dialogue and discuss critical issues affecting their communities.
UNAMA supports the Afghan people and government to achieve peace and stability. In accordance with its mandate as a political mission, UNAMA backs conflict prevention and resolution, promoting inclusion and social cohesion, as well as strengthening regional cooperation. The Mission supports effective governance, promoting national ownership and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights.
UNAMA provides 'good offices' and other key services, including diplomatic steps that draw on the organization’s independence, impartiality and integrity to prevent disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. The Mission coordinates international support for Afghan development and humanitarian priorities.