Afghan Women Demand Equal Rights

Three hundred women in Afghanistan gathered Tuesday at the Afghan Women’s Broad and Comprehensive Conference in Kabul, urging equal rights for women in all spheres, reported Reuters. Organized by the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the local weekly Women’s Mirror, the event provided an open forum where representatives discussed the continued harassment and abuse faced by women, following the Taliban’s removal from power over one year ago. In their final declaration, the attendees called for wider participation in political, economic, and social areas as well as the inclusion of women’s rights in the new constitution. A first draft of the new constitution is expected later this month. The women are calling for a panel of women’s groups to approve the constitution before it is ratified. “We want to ensure that all government policies and programs clearly and fully observe women’s rights,” said Minister of Women’s Affairs Habiba Suhrabi , according to NNI.

Despite the Taliban’s fall from power, fundamentalists persist among members of the current Afghan government. In Herat province last month, new restrictions on female education were introduced, prohibiting men from teaching girls and women in private and imposing strict gender segregation in all schools, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report.

The Feminist Majority Foundation’s Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls is working to increase funding, expand peacekeeping troops, and provide resources for the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Human Rights Commission in order to restore the rights of Afghan women and girls.

TAKE ACTION Urge Congress to Appropriate Funds for Expanded Peace Troops, Women’s Programs and Reconstruction in Afghanistan


UN Wire 2/5/03; Reuters 2/5/03; NNI 2/5/03

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