The head of the Afghan Women Judges’ Association, Shakila Abawi Shagarf, announced last month that there are now 260 female judges in Afghanistan as of this year. While the majority—225—are in the capital of Kabul, there are 21 in Harat province, 11 in Balkh province, two in Takhar province and one in Baghlan province. During the Taliban regime that fell sixteen years ago, there were no female judges.
While the progress has been strong, Shagarf lamented, “There should be at least one judge in the superior judiciary and at least on woman should also be present in the selection board of the Supreme Court.” She continued, “This would be an important step forward that would pave way for justice and equality in the country.”
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has not yet fulfilled a campaign promise to put a woman on the country’s nine-member Supreme Court. In 2015, he nominated Judge Anisa Rasooli to serve on the Court, but she fell 9 votes shy of the 97 votes needed to put her on the bench. 23 of the 69 female lawmakers in the Afghan parliament didn’t even turn out for the vote.
Despite the persistent Taliban terrorist attacks, Afghanistan is a nation that continues to make considerable progress, especially for women. The maternal mortality rate has fallen dramatically and women’s athletic clubs have become popular social activities. Women are being encouraged to take roles in STEM work, and some 80% of Afghan women now have regular or occasional access to mobile phones and
Media Resources: The Peninsula 3/30/17; Washington Post 7/17/15; Tolo 6/14/15, 3/29/17; Feminist Majority Foundation 12/20/16