The Role of Women in the Upcoming Elections
Ahead of another election in Afghanistan, the role of the women in taking part for shaping the future of the country is once again highlighted. Civil organizations and activists campaigning for women’s rights have organized a ‘national conference of women’ with the aim to review to role and participation of women in the upcoming elections. Afghanistan once again needs active participation of the women in the upcoming national practice of presidential elections while the situation for women’s participation is increasingly worsening with the adverse security conditions.
The election ahead is going to be crucial not only for a peaceful transfer of power but also for further expansion of women’s rights and strengthening women by encouraging them to come to the ballot boxes. The women of Afghanistan will have the opportunity to turn the election to a stage for demanding their rights through making their voices heard by the election candidates. In turn, a robust presence of the women in the upcoming election process would strengthen the pro-women groups and civil society organizations in their campaign for promotion of women’s rights. If the women make a high turnout in the elections, they will have a much stronger standing in the future political interactions in Afghanistan.
Active participation of the women is crucial both for women’s rights and the future of the country. The women and pro-women groups and civil organizations need to raise the issue with the presidential candidates and gauge their commitments towards the women. The candidates who are clearly speaking for the women and their rights deserve the votes of women. Activists and civil organizations could play a remarkable role in raising the issue to the media and ask the candidates to express their positions regarding women’s rights. The media will be able to play a defining role in encouraging the people for voting for pro-women candidates. For this, the civil organizations and women activists need to start a campaign and weigh behind the candidates who are committed to women’s rights.
Sadly, on the political arena, many of the candidates do not openly express their commitment to promotion of women’s rights. These candidates are seemingly trying to appease more conservative groups and the clerics rather than sticking to what they believe are best for the country’s future interest. In part, the government is responsible for the reverse of the past trend of promotion of women’s rights. Due to the international apathy to the Afghan mission, the conservatives are finding a louder voice in opposing promotion of women’s rights. And because of this, the candidates seem reluctant to express their firm commitment to the rights of women in Afghanistan.
However, a high turnout of the Afghan women in the upcoming elections could considerably influence the Afghan politics in the future. For this, the civil society, activists and the independent media should redouble their efforts for raising public awareness to the women’s participation in the upcoming elections and to the commitment of the presidential candidates to women’s rights.