The Asia Foundation’s survey of 2019 shows a growing support for women’s education and their employment in Afghanistan. The survey released on Tuesday shows the progress made in the views of Afghans in regards to women’s rights and their position in public life. The approval and support for women’s education has continued to rise over the past years, reaching nearly 87% this year from 84% last year. A record high number of Afghans also support women working outside their homes. The percentage of Afghans supporting their female members of the family working outside has increased from 70% in 2018 to 76% in 2019.
Many Afghans interviewed for the survey also believe that the lack of education, justice and rights, domestic violence, and employment opportunities have been some of the biggest challenges faced by women. The changes in the view of many Afghans interviewed show a steady rise in public awareness of women’s rights and status.
The authors of the survey believe that the peace discussions have made many Afghans worried, envisioning a retreat to the Taliban era’s rules. Many Afghans believe that they feel represented in the peace talks. However, 65% of the survey respondents said they would not support the Afghan president if he enters a deal with the Taliban that jeopardizes women’s rights, their access to education, and the ability to work. Nearly 66% of the respondents would not support the deal if the Afghan government losses territory for a peace settlement.
Although there is an overwhelming consensus among Afghans for peace and the continuation of negotiations with the Taliban, they do not support compromising the Constitution of Afghanistan, losing territories to the armed groups, and losing women’s human rights.
The survey also reveals that an increasing number of Afghans have access to information and media, with TV taking over radio as a source of information. More than 65% of Afghans responded that they watch television as a source of information, a significant increase from 11.2% in 2013. More than 17% of Afghans now have access to the internet and use the platform for accessing information. The percentage of Afghans having access to the internet has increased an impressive 16 fold, from 1.1% in 2006.
Protecting freedom of speech and freedom of the press are also among the higher priorities for Afghans to be protected during the negotiations with the armed groups. More than 80% of the respondents believe that freedom of speech and freedom of the press must be protected.
Source: Asian Foundation 12/3/19