- Development & Aid
- Economy & Trade
- Human Rights
- Global Governance
- Civil Society
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
DOHA, Qatar, Oct 3 2011 - Women’s rights in Afghanistan are once again under threat after 10 years of progress, two leading British aid agencies have said.
Oxfam and Action Aid said on Monday many Afghan women were worried that the impending international troop withdrawal, coupled with an ongoing effort to secure a political deal with the Taliban, could undermine their future.
Louise Hancock, the co-author of the Oxfam report, told Al Jazeera that women’s rights in Afghanistan had made some gains in the 10 years since the Taliban was deposed. But, she said, it was now “time to take stock of what has happened and what still needs to be done”.
At 2.7 million, half of the nation’s school-aged girls have gained access to education. For Oxfam, this increased access to education is seen as marked improvement over the five-year period under the Taliban when education of girls was outlawed entirely.
Politically, nearly 28 percent of seats in the nation’s parliament have gone to women. Though it may be the result of a quota, that figure puts Afghanistan near the top in terms of worldwide female parliamentary representation.
‘Sacrificing’ women’s rights
“What is life going to be like for us in the next 10 years? Already life is getting tougher for Afghan women,” said Oxfam report co-author Orzala Ashraf Nemat.
From a legal standpoint, the group sees a dangerous precedent in the implementation of a law against honour killings and child marriage.
Though the report finds that 87 percent of women have suffered “physical, sexual or psychological violence or forced marriage”, the law will only be implemented in 10 of the nation’s 34 provinces. This outcome is indicative of a sharp contrast in the experience of women in larger cities and rural areas highlighted in the report.
The report also points to “willingness to sacrifice women’s rights for political ends” among the administration of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, as a sign of potential trouble.
In 2009, Karzai faced international scrutiny for signing the Shi’a Family Law, which included a controversial provision that human rights groups said amounted to legalised rape.
Facing pressure domestically and abroad, Karzai would later revise the law, saying he was not aware of the provision in question.
As girls’ schools continue to face attack, and the movement of women is still heavily restricted in Taliban-controlled areas, rights workers fear the Karzai government may be too willing to concede women’s rights in negotiations with the insurgent group.
“Afghan women want peace, not a stitch-up deal that will confine us to our homes again,” says Nemat.
*Published under an agreement with Al-Jazeera.
IPS is an international communication institution with a global news agency at its core,
raising the voices of the South
and civil society on issues of development, globalisation, human rights and the environment
Copyright © 2022 IPS-Inter Press Service. All rights reserved. - Terms & Conditions
You have the Power to Make a Difference
Would you consider a $20.00 contribution today that will help to keep the IPS news wire active? Your contribution will make a huge difference.