Kabul: Remembering Farkhunda

Farkhunda-afghantribune6-768x511KABUL: The world has made great paces toward gender equality over the last several decades, but major inequalities between men and women still exist.  And women, from all walks of life, still face hindrances. The women have been consigned to the Stone Age from centuries in Afghanistan. Last year in March, an angry mob in the center of the Afghan capital, Kabul, has killed 27 years old Farkhunda and set her body alight for allegedly burning a copy of the Koran.

After ousting Taliban regime in 2001, there was too much hope that now the condition of the Afghan women will change but unfortunately, still women in Afghanistan faces a lot of challenges and deprivations in many aspects of life.

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Women around the world earn on average only 60 to 75 percent of men’s pays. They are 65 percent more likely to work in informal, and often unpaid, work. The labor force contribution in the developing countries is just over half of all the women, and even when women are able to work, they face a “double burden” of work inside and out outside the home.

According to the Julia Gillard, the Distinguished Fellow in Global Economy, Center for Universal Education has said in a fresh article that “In 14 countries, more than 30 percent of girls are out of school.  There are 30 countries where girls are significantly disadvantaged in secondary school, with fewer than 80 girls (and in some cases fewer than 50) for every 100 boys are enrolled. In terms of academic leadership, the report shows that in a majority of countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa fewer than 50 percent of college professors are female.” This is really an abysmal and pity situation for the world leaders.

A statement today by the UN in Afghanistan pointed to the significant challenges as Afghan women face, and cited progress in the promotion of gender equality in the country and increased representation of Afghan women in the workplace. The UN envoy, who is also head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said, “The world body remains committed to advancing women’s meaningful participation in building sustainable peace and security.”

In Kabul today, First Lady Rula Ghani spoke at a Ministry of Women’s Affairs event, following her appearance yesterday at an event in Jalalabad, where she highlighted the complementary roles of women and men can play in Afghanistan and reiterated her commitment to women’s rights.

In Afghanistan, the previous decade had seen noteworthy progress in the promotion of gender equality, most notably in constitutional guarantees on non-discrimination, the enactment of the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law criminalizing harmful traditional practices, and, most recently, the adoption of the National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) committing to promote women in leadership and their meaningful participation in conflict prevention, peace negotiations and post-conflict processes.

Despite these important achievements, the Afghan women continue to be challenged by enormous challenges that discount them from political processes vital for peace and security. Additionally, the escalation in conflict continues to take a heavy toll on Afghan civilians, and Afghan women in particular, with a 37 percent increase in women casualties in 2015 compared to 2014. However, all of these claims and commitment of international and national leaders, still there are so many hurdles in the true emancipation of women in the Afghan society.

Undoubtedly, the gathering of Afghan human rightists, civil society, Kabul University’s Humanist Association and social activists on March 8 give a very hopeful message to the Afghan society while paying tribute to Farkhunda at her newly built memorial monument, Kabul City. The participants reiterated that the government must play due role in order to ensure the women’s rights in Afghanistan. (Courtesy: Afghan Tribune)

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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