Published on 08 Mar 2012 at 09:43
While the majority of Afghan women are facing tremendous obstacles and hardships across the country, the Afghan government, civil society and women’s advocacy organizations are celebrating March 8th in recognition of International Women’s Day in Afghanistan.
Violence, verbal abuse and offensive behavior against women are common practices in Afghan society and yet no one recognizes them as extremely harmful to women. The main reason for such practices is the “sustained domination of men” over their families and in society.
March 8th is symbolically celebrated in Afghanistan to shed a little light on the problems of women for one day and to give them a few gifts. But, while Afghan women are facing far more serious problems, such symbolic celebrations cannot remedy their pain or root out the underlying problems of discrimination and abuse.
Overcoming women’s problems and ensuring gender equality demand long-term investments. Such a process requires joint efforts from honest men and women, members of the younger generation and open-minded people.
These problems have roots in the harmful traditional customs in a society that so often favors men and devalues women. The advancement of women’s right in this country must be based on a comprehensive strategy to include all cultural, social, economic and political fields simultaneously in order to root out discrimination against women.
We should fight to overcome such baseless, harmful practices and discrimination against women. Most importantly, we should be careful that opponents of women’s rights not misuse or distort our efforts as un-Islamic in their attempt to thwart our mission in ensuring women’s rights. Women must be educated and must be informed of their rights to help us root out discrimination against women in Afghanistan.
The symbolic presence of women in the country’s political process alone does not work to push forward equality. Women must have active participation in decision making processes. This is possible when we have capable women who are clearly aware of good governance and the importance of their role. They should have a real, not a symbolic, presence in every field.
The achievements gained over the past decade, particularly those achievements gained in the field of women’s rights should not fall victim to political bargaining. For instance, a disregard for women’s rights and for the achievements gained during peace talks with the government’s opposition endangers our struggles to root out discrimination against women in our society.
March 8th is symbolically celebrated in Afghanistan
to shed a little light on the problems of women for
one day and to give them a few gifts.
Regarding the country’s laws, it is necessary to reform all of them based on provisions of the Constitution and the international conventions which were established to protect and enforce the rights of women.
The Afghan government together with the international community should pay strict attention to women’s problems and they should adopt constructive measures for improving the living conditions of women in Afghanistan.
It is immensely difficult to tackle injustice and the deeply entrenched discrimination against women in Afghanistan through short-term efforts only.
Too little attention has been paid over the past decade to women’s inclusion in the economic sector. Women should be provided with working opportunities to become self-sufficient and support their families financially. These opportunities ease the extraordinary burden placed on women and open the way to decrease the level of discrimination against women in the country.
In conclusion, it is immensely difficult to tackle injustice and the deeply entrenched discrimination against women in Afghanistan through short-term efforts only.
Overcoming women’s problems and ensuring gender equality demand long-term investments.
Such a process requires joint efforts from honest men and women, members of the younger generation and open-minded people, as well as coordinated efforts on behalf of civil society and government.
Ms. Masoma Mohammadi currently serves as director to the Equity Social and Cultural Organization (ESCO) in Afghanistan. Mohammadi maintains extensive experience as a women’s rights activist and a media development professional, where she worked previously with Internews International, as a reporter for UNOCHA/IRINNEWS, and as Chief Editor for Voice of Women magazine. ESCO is a non-governmental organization working to enhance equal rights and the inclusive voices of women and youth through projects in journalism and multi-media development.
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- US, Taliban to meet in Qatar for 'key milestone' toward ending Afghanistan war - NBCNews.com (blog)
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- US Military Deaths in Afghanistan - New York Times
- Afghanistan peace talks: no surrender behind the Taliban's white flowers - The Guardian
- Is Peace and Stability Possible in Afghanistan ? - PBS NewsHour
- US to join direct peace talks in Qatar with Taliban over Afghanistan's future - The Guardian
- Taliban agree to peace talks with US over Afghanistan – full statement - The Guardian
- After Gunfire, Politicians in Afghanistan Trade Accusations - New York Times