When the loya jirga opens on June 11, some 200 women will participate as delegates. As active participants in the long-anticipated national assembly to decide the future of Afghanistan’s government, these female delegates will be championing the rights of their fellow female citizens, who lost their rights under the Taliban’s six-year-long repressive rule. “The rights of women should not just be a slogan, but a reality,” Razia Hydari, a delegate from the Bamian province told the Boston Globe Sunday. “And if our rights are not given, we will come on the floor [of the assembly] and fight for them.”
Of the 1,551 slated delegation slots, 160 had been reserved for women. Approximately 50 more women were elected nationwide in secret ballots, Mahboba Hoquqmal, a member of the Loya Jirga Commission overseeing the appointment and election of delegates told Reuters last week. The loya jirga did not start today as planned; a dispute over the role of the country’s former king Zahir Shah caused the first meeting to be delayed for 24 hours.