New Cabinet in Afghanistan Includes No Women

Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s new cabinet currently includes no women. President Karzai did not reappoint the three women who had previously served in his 25-member cabinet. The one woman he did choose to be minister of women’s affairs was rejected by the Afghan parliament. Moreover, Karzai did not appoint any women to the Supreme Court.

An aide to Karzai who spoke to the New York Times on the condition of anonymity said that since women had won guaranteed representation in parliament, there was no longer any need to give them “special appointments” to the cabinet.

“While establishing quotas to ensure women’s inclusion is one necessary step, it isn’t sufficient. The inclusion of women in government and persistent legislative and judicial reform will be imperative to ensuring that Afghanistan becomes a true representative democracy,” wrote Isobel Coleman, director of the Women and US Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Swanee Hunt director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, in a join op ed published in the Christian Science Monitor. “Women’s inclusion in Afghanistan’s government, which the international community has been using as an indicator of democratic progress, is actually regressing.”

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New York Times 4/20/06; Christian Science Monitor 4/24/06

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