Afghanistan and the International Women’s Day
Afghanistan marked the occasion of International Women’s Day with special events organized by government institutions and other organizations. Each year, this day a chance to glance at our past and the achievements we have made for restoring the rights and dignity of our mothers, wives and daughters. Hopefully, Afghanistan has reached a point that marking these events reflects the potential of the society for embracing gender equality and rights of the women. More than ever in the history, Afghan society is ready for embracing rights of the women and accepting gender equality.
On this auspicious day, we have to review our efforts for the rights of women and the achievements of women in economic, social and educational areas. The status of women has considerably improved since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, when Afghanistan was practically experiencing humanitarian disaster, as the bitter result of war and violence. Now, millions of girls go to schools and the lives of the middle class families living in urban centers across the country have changed. The programs aimed at improving the life conditions of women, have worked and helped in shaping opinions of people towards the women.
But despite these stories of success, there are still concerns for probable setbacks in women’s rights, as the ominous 2014 deadline is getting closer, and the public anxiety is growing. Many wonder about what would happen after withdrawal of foreign forces by 2014 and how it would affect the status of women and on the hard-gained achievements of the past decade. In past decade of war in Afghanistan, the women have been the most vulnerable of the society. Despite more than a decade of efforts for improving the rights and status of Afghan women, there are still potential dangers threatening the minimum hard-gained achievements and reversal of the achievements regarding the lives and conditions of the women.
They have been sacrificed due to the deeply-rooted violence in the conservative society. Women still suffer from violence among the male-dominated families. Many women still are deprived of accessing heath care, education and financial opportunities. The threats are abundant. There is still space for fatal violence against women. But hopefully, the deeply conservative Afghan society is opening up for embracing new status and rights for them.
As our much-revered constitution has clearly defined the future, the government must be committed to restoring the rights and dignity of women and do more in fighting the real causes of violence and discrimination against women. Women’s security, along with access to education, health care and other human rights must be top priorities for the Afghan government. The way ahead is as crystal clear: whether the government remains committed to staunchly defending the rights and improving the status of women; otherwise there will be risk of systematic failures in the campaign of restoring women’s rights.