Every society consists of women and men. Women represent half of our population, so their involvement in development, peace, and democracy is vital.
Our constitution grants equality to every citizen, regardless of gender. In 1964, women were given the legal right to vote in our country. However, in spite of these legal and moral rights, women and girls were forbidden to go to school or work during the Taliban regime. After that regime fell in 2001, GIRoA established the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to re-establish the rights of women and improve their lives in this country.
Policy makers - keeping in mind religious principles, and considering the values of international documents such as the Bonn agreement - are attempting to equalize men and women’s roles in society and eliminate discrimination against women. The government considers the women’s role in society vital for national development.
First Lady Rula Ghani has also “vowed to work to improve living standards for women where they have historically struggled to be treated fairly,” according to a Time magazine article.
Changing the situation for women is a long-term task, in which improving girls’ education, increasing economic opportunities, and increasing women’s representation in government are key. We’ve already seen progress. For instance, statistics from the 2010 elections showed that 28 percent of the lower parliamentary house in Afghanistan was women, and statistics in 2015 showed that 18 percent of the Upper House were women. Having more women represented in government is one positive step for society.
Increasing girls’ participation in school, and encouraging women to participate in society through entrepreneurship and community activities, will enhance our society’s productivity overall. With everyone’s support, we can ensure more fulfilling lives for half of our population – the women of Afghanistan.