The Dark Past and The Uncertain Future for Women
Afghanistan observed the International Women’s Day as the country is bracing for transitioning into a new period which is marred with uncertainty particularly for the women. As previous year, Afghanistan celebrated the Women’s Day through special events and ceremonies. The Day is particularly import for the women of Afghanistan as the Afghan women along with the civil society are struggling to preserve the past achievements of the women. As the upcoming presidential election is getting closer, the women are worried whether they would be able to protect themselves after 2014 when the NATO forces also withdraw from Afghanistan.
During past thirteen years, there have been considerable achievements for the women as they have moved quickly to gain their social and political status. Now, more are actively engaged in social activities as well as politics, serving in parliament, public posts, and military ranks. Today, there are women singers in the media, women teachers at schools and universities and women lawmakers in the parliament. This is a clear sign of what is going on in Afghan still-conservative society. However, with the US and NATO forces shrinking in recent years, the international commitment towards Afghanistan’s women have also been declining. Despite that the situation has much improved in recent years but there is still a long way ahead to reach the goal of a free-violence society for women.
As a result, there have been many setbacks in recent years in regards to the rights of women. In recent years, conservative groups in the society started openly questioning some rights of the women, and in the meantime, conservative elements in Afghanistan’s politics, in particular the parliament, moved to speak out against women’s rights and social freedom. Very recently, the government was pondering a legislation that could considerably affect victims of domestic violence. A legal commission under the Ministry of Justice had been considering banning the family members of the victims of domestic violence to testify in courts.
On the other hand, the women of Afghanistan experience violence on daily basis. Domestic violence is the most heinous form of violence against the Afghan women. The Afghan women suffer domestic violence to a much greater extent than is being reported by the media since most of cases of domestic violence are not reported to the government or the human rights commission. According to human rights agencies in Afghanistan, the real figures about cases of violence against the women in Afghanistan are much higher and most of them are not reported.
As the violence against women goes unabated, the rate of literacy among the women remains very low. It is believed that education and public awareness campaign for promoting rights of the women has been the most important driver of the changes made and the achievements made so far. But it has not been carried out with potent momentum which could all parts of the society. Public awareness will rapidly change the society’s approach towards women and will help women to continue the fight for preserving their rights.