A recent study conducted by Oxfam International revealed that 94 percent of women from Kabul and Balkh provinces are either not allowed to participate in the political processes of Afghanistan or do not have any knowledge about their rights and ways in which they can contribute in the political arena of the country.
Oxfam conducted the study over the past two months in Kabul and Balkh provinces. The study revealed the deplorable state of women’s participation in the political arena. The organization expressed its worries over low female turnout in the elections and said that almost 90 percent of the males in Afghanistan are against the participation of women in the political activities of the country.
“90 percent of males are against the participation of women in the political processes of the country,” said Ali Ahmad Saadat, Flow Project Manager, Oxfam.
Several female MPs cited illiteracy and gender discrimination as the two major challenges that are overshadowing female participation in the activities of national interest. The MPs added that because of a male dominant society, the women are subjected to all forms of suppression, including violence.
“Illiteracy, lack of awareness among women, and some so-called social norms are the main challenges that are preventing empowerment of women,” said MP Shukria Barakzai.
Additionally, Noor Mohammad Noor, the spokesman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), also expressed concerns over low female turnout in voters’ registration process and said that it is adopting all measures encouraging women to register themselves for the upcoming elections. The Commission added that it has allocated millions of dollars specifically for running awareness programmes to seek greater female participation.
However, the IEC has assured that it will do its best to improve the condition of women in the country. The Commission added that it has already started running numerous awareness programmes across the country.
“The IEC has spent millions of dollars to support and persuade women to participate in the electoral process. In spite of all the efforts the condition of women has not improved,” said Mr. Noor.
Oxfam is an international non-governmental organization that has been working in Afghanistan to increase women’s participation in the political processes of the country. Oxfam conducted the survey in Kabul and Balkh provinces. During the survey, nearly 680 people were interviewed, including men and women. The 196-page report revealed that 90 percent of the males in Afghanistan are dead against political participation of women in the country.
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27 September 2013 21:48Written by Sayed Azem Arash