Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, December 11th, 2017

Obstacles before Afghan Women

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Obstacles before Afghan Women

Afghan women suffer severe violence and their rights and dignity are violated in some ways. The outpouring of pain and anguish of Afghan women continues and they are still the inferior creature in the patriarchal system. Their voice and concerns fall on deaf ears. Their tendency towards democratization and their ideas regarding their own rights are considered brazen and against the social norm. Women are believed to have more responsibilities than rights. Some self-righteous individuals tend to articulate their ideas about women persistently, which are mostly unacceptable in sound minds.

In addition to domestic violence, there are many social barriers which restrict the role of Afghan women. Some unfair views regarding women prevail among the officials as well which demoralize them and hamper their progress. It is self-explanatory that traditional customs and views had strong sway in Afghanistan throughout the history. The Taliban regime strengthened those traditions and even radicalized them through fundamental interpretations of religious texts, tinged with their own tastes and parochial mindsets. Such mentalities are still practiced in tribal belts and those views are held regarding women’s rights and freedoms. Therefore, Afghan women are punished and tortured in desert courts in tribal areas, which is against the Constitution of the country. The Taliban militants continue their cruel practices against women and target them in public places. In other words, Afghan women are left at the mercy of militancy and lose their lives in suicide bombings and terrorist attacks. The emergence of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL also known as IS) group seems to pose more serious threat to women, especially those who belong to ethnic minority groups. Their ideology is harsher than the Taliban.

By and large, the role of Afghan women has remained low in political decision makings and no more than four female ministers and eight deputy ministers were appointed in the National Unity Government (NUG). Similarly, only one woman, Masuma Moradi, holds the position of provincial governor in Daikundi province. Based on a recent report, the participation of women in official decisions within the government has raised no more than one per cent (10.7 % share) in the last three years.  

Constitutionally, there are no discriminations between man and woman and both are supposed to exercise their rights and dignity freely. The constitution in the post-Taliban Afghanistan is the most unprecedented one which has ever been approved and holds equal rights for men and women. Article 22 states, “Any kind of discrimination and distinction between citizens of Afghanistan shall be forbidden. The citizens of Afghanistan, man and woman, have equal rights and duties before the law.” Similarly, the government is to protect the rights of all citizens as it is said, “The state shall respect and protect liberty as well as human dignity.”

However, women are the victim of injustice and violence. Reports say that in the current solar year, seven females have been killed in Bamyan province, including a young girls, who were found dead recently. The main reasons behind these incidents are believed to be patriarchal view and traditional mindset, which considers women an inferior creature. When females dress up against the cultural norms of their areas, they trigger the anger of their families and will be punished physically which lead to death, sometimes.

In traditional societies, a woman is considered as a productive creature to give birth and to feed and train her children. She is chained in cradle at birth, bound to suffer within the four walls of the kitchen and finally buried in an unmarked grave or her ashes will melt away – she takes all her dreams to the grave with her. This is her role she plays in a traditional community. That is to say, women have to be restricted within the four walls and do the household chores with their lips sealed. They should live under the dominance of their husbands and created to satisfy their carnal desires. Their presence in social life is toxic to the society on the grounds that their devilish charm will challenge men’s faith. Ultimately, men will be tempted to their feminine attractions and divert from the right path. Thus, women have to live behind a screen.

It should be noted that discriminating one on the grounds of their sex is against the law. Women should no more suffer men’s fractious attitudes, mental and physical tortures. The religious guidelines and country’s law should be practiced upon and the patriarchal system should end so that women’s rights and dignity be held in respect. Those who violate law flagrantly, through harming women, should be prosecuted. Moreover, the Ulema Council and clergy will have to enlighten the rights and dignity of women according to religious tenets and condemn the violent acts being practiced against women, which are not acceptable based on religious or constitutional law. To put it succinctly, the clergy will have to articulate the true rights of women and the government must enforce the law to mitigate the violence.

The government has committed to empower women and develop their role to 30 per cent in the three next years. The state is responsible to decrease the barriers which hamper women’s progress, fight terrorism to strengthen democracy and create safe ground for the social activities of all citizens and prosecute the violators of women’s rights.

Hujjattullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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