This page offers some general information about the Afghan legislative structure and the role of women within it. Some of the information is drawn from secondary sources so please let us know if you find anything hosted here that is incorrect. The page also acts as a reference area for accessing specific laws that impact upon women and their rights.
Women and the Law in Afghanistan
Having been excluded from the decision-making process for centuries, Afghan women entered the political arena in 2001, after the overthrow of the Taliban. With the introduction of the Reserved Seats Provision in the 2002 Emergency Loya Jirga, when 10 per cent of the 1,600 seats were reserved for women, the ground was laid for their participation in Parliament. The 2004 constitution secured reserved seats for women and minorities in both houses of parliament. In the 2005 parliamentarian elections, Afghan women won 89 seats.
The Wolesi Jirga, the more powerful house, consists of a maximum of 250 delegates directly elected through a system of semi-proportional representation (SNTV). Members are elected on a provincial basis and serve for five years. At least 64 delegates must be women; and ten Kuchi nomads were also elected among their peers. The Wolesi Jirga has the primary responsibility for making and ratifying laws and approving the actions of the president and has considerable veto power over senior appointments and policies
The Meshrano Jirga will consist of an unspecified number of local dignitaries and experts appointed by provincial councils, district councils, and the president. The president also appoints two representatives of the physically disabled. The lower house passes laws, approve budgets and ratify treaties – all of which will require subsequent approval by the Meshrano Jirga.