Women empowerment discussed at UN-backed radio programme in western region
HERAT – Participants at a UN-backed radio programme underscored the need for women’s full participation at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
During a discussion on Mozhda radio in the western province of Herat, panelists from government, civil society and the Human Rights Commission called for concrete steps and action to support women’s rights, and an end to traditional practices that discriminate and hinder women from participating and contributing to the region’s development agenda
“Women need jobs, not harassment” said Wahida Azizi, a gender specialist at the Herat governor’s office, and called for equal opportunities for women in accessing jobs, education and inclusion in peace negotiations.
Women in the western region, as in the rest of the country face many common challenges, notably their absence in decision making roles, different forms of violence, poverty, illiteracy and discrimination. 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.
Herat shares a border with Iran to the west and Turkmenistan to the north, with an estimated population of nearly two million, second only to Kabul province.
The radio discussion, broadcast to an estimated audience of 400,000 was supported by the Herat regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), and is part of a country-wide outreach initiative aimed at creating platforms for local communities to dialogue and engage on issues that matter to them.
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.