Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Ensuring Women Right

Ensuring Women Right

The women have been deprived of their basic rights and freedoms as they have been treated as an inferior class in the society as well as the families. For instance, for a typical Afghan girl, particularly in rural areas, it has been less likely to have the permission of her family to go to school, university or workplace, virtually leading to her deprivation from opportunities critical for a better life.
The decades of war and violence have played a major role in violation of women’s rights and limitation of their freedoms. In fact, the women have been direct victims of war and instability and the most affected segment of the society during the past decades of wars.
Afghanistan is still far from the global efforts for improvement of women’s conditions and rights. Yet in Afghanistan, there are concerns of a possible reverse in women’s rights.
Particularly after two major transition processes, the 2014 NATO withdrawal and the presidential elections, concerns regarding the future of Women’s rights increased.
The causes of violence against women are mostly driven by the dominant conservative culture and the decades-long conflict. However, the most dominant reason behind the widespread violence against women is the fact that the Afghan society is deeply conservative. The widespread domestic violence or violent behaviors against women are closely related to the conservative attitude of the male members of the families to the women, seeking superiority in form of guardianship over them. Inevitably, efforts from the male family members in seeking superiority result to conflicts in the families and consequently violence against women. The major reasons behind the attitude of violent domination of male members are traditions, religion and the low rate of literacy.
The threats against women in Afghanistan have been alarmingly on the rise since last couple of years. Amidst the uncertainty and as the violence against women are growing, the National Unity Government leaders with the help of the international community must act to ensure the conditions of Afghan women would not deteriorate.
The militant groups still target the women activists as well as those who are going to school or working outside. The insurgents continue to target women activists and school girls to discourage them from their social activities and attending public schools. Despite extensive pro-women campaign during past fifteen years, each month there are many cases of violence against them in the society and family levels. Time and again, there are reports of violence against women, such as honor killings, rapes and tortures.
Many wonder that what would happen in 2017 and how it would affect the status of women and on the hard-gained achievements since 2001.
However, the fact is that Afghanistan has changed and the status of Afghan women has considerably improved. The programs aimed at improving the life conditions of women, have worked and helped in shaping the opinions of people towards the women. The policies and strategies of the Afghan government towards promoting the rights of the women have been effective – though inefficient. It has supported the media, human rights organizations, women activists and other groups. The collective efforts of Afghanistan and the international community have helped to encourage other parties in the society to step in the campaign for the cause of women’s rights. Human rights organizations and women activists bear the brunt the campaign against extremists and in the conservative society.
Public awareness campaign for promoting women’s rights is the most major driver of change and the achievements made so far. But it has not been carried out with potent momentum which could effect all parts of the society. Public awareness gradually changes the conservative mood of the society and makes it ready for embracing the new way of life and accepting a new set of rights for the women. In order to carry out such public awareness, general education is the key. By generalizing education to the far-reach corners of the country, and to all parts of society, Afghans will be able to fight conservatism. In addition to that, the women now have direct and active involvement in the campaign, giving them a voice and the energy to make their voice heard.
As a result of the efforts, the conservative Afghan society is opening up for embracing new status and rights for the women. The situation has much improved as the collective move towards the goal of a violence-free society for women impacts the society. While there were almost a-zero percent of girls in school during the Taliban era, there are now millions of girls going to schools and universities, which virtually would change their life as well as the attitude of the society and that of families.

This is a clear sign of what is going on in Afghan still-conservative society. The fact that millions of girls are going to universities is indicating that the country is changing, though not at a fast pace, but is moving in the right direction. However, there should be concrete measure both from the Afghan government and the international community to sustain these achievements and ensure that the women’s rights would be protected and preserved.