President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday acknowledged women played insufficient leadership role in government departments, promising to improve their situation.
The president was addressing the inauguration ceremony for a USAID-funded programme “Promote” that seeks to help 75,000 Afghan women become leaders in their respective fields.The ‘Promote’ programme is estimated to cost $216m to be provided by USAID. The programme is aimed to improve women’s strength in government departments and promote them to leading positions.President Ghani thanked the US for funding the programme, saying the national unity government was committed to increasing women’s participation in the government.He said women’s participation in the government was vital and there had been insufficient changes in their lives during the past 13 years.He said his government would pay attention to issues concerning women’s leadership role in government and improving their economy.“We are committed to honouring our promises. We will appoint a female Supreme Court judge for the next five years. But our standard is merit so a woman leading a court should be stronger enough in her ability to do so,” he said.The president said Afghan women worked continuously but their contributions went unnoticed, adding that his government would help women find access to foreign market for their products.He said the first women university would be established in Kabul with support from the allies.The president said educating a girl would have its impact on at least five generations and educating a boy only one generation.A video message from US President Barack Obama was played at the ceremony. Obama promised his country was committed to supporting Afghan women to improve their skills.“There was no school for Afghan girls in the past, but now millions of girls attend school and busy getting education,” he said.US Ambassador James B. Cunningham, who participated in the ceremony, said the programme would jointly be implemented by Afghanistan and the US to empower Afghan women.He said the programme was aimed to help 75,000 women play leadership role in politics, civil society institutes, economy and business.
He said positive changes in women’s lives over the past decade were a big achievement and stressed that human and women rights be ensured. He also asked foreign countries to cooperate with Afghan women.