Increased role for women in Daikundi in public life and decision making

Report
from UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan
Published on 07 Feb 2019 View Original

NILI - An increased number of women in the Central Highlands area of Daikundi are taking up positions in public life, working as civil servants and enjoying success in parliamentary elections.

These developments are the result of multiple factors, not least the work and advocacy of a broad range of actors in the region.

Fatima Naemi, a provincial council member in Daikundi spoke about 2018 parliamentary elections, “More than half of the voters in Daikundi were women and out of four legislators who will represent the province in the new assembly, two are women. People now believe that we can be leaders,” she said.

Naemi is convinced that the most important thing is that local community attitudes towards women are changing and that women must be alert to openings and use every opportunity to join politics and to take the future into their own hands.

According to the head of Daikundi’s Women’s Affairs Department, Zakia Rezai, women’s participation has increased not only in the field of politics but also in education, culture and economic activities. “Around 40 women opened shops in local markets in Nili town and are competing with success with other vendors.”

Rezai believes that energy invested in promoting women’s participation in public life has contributed to the increased number of women employed in government. Statistics from the Department of Women’s Affairs show that 31 per cent of all government employees in Daikundi are women, with four of them occupying managerial positions. This is above the target set by the Afghan government to increase the presence of women in government institutions to 30 per cent by the year 2020.

UNAMA has been regularly working with local radio stations in Daikundi engaging local figures in discussions about key social issues, especially women’s empowerment and their participation in public life.

Commentators on Daikundi radio have consistently stressed that women’s participation at every level of Afghanistan’s social and political life is in keeping with Afghanistan’s constitution, electoral laws, religious values and the country’s development priorities.

Religious figures play special role in the province and shape opinion of the faithful. Assadullah Erfani, the head of Hajj and Religious Affairs Department in Daikundi is convinced that Ulema have contributed to altering attitudes towards women’s role in society. He spoke about the time when he made a commitment in one of the radio programmes to ensure that the preaching in the mosques and religions gathering is openly in favour of women exercising their rights.

“After I made my commitment public, I have regularly sent guidance to community Imams to speak about Islamic teachings that promote women’s rights and participation during Friday payers and at other Islamic forums,” said Assadullah Erfani.

UNAMA works with various institutions including religious leaders, provincial councils, community leaders, youth groups, women and local media outlets to create platforms using radio, social media and television to promote women’s social participation. UNAMA’s Bamyan regional office in partnership with local radio partners Radio Daikundi, Radio Aftaab, Radio Nasim, Radio Bamyan and Radio Paiwand reached an estimated 300,000 people in 2018 across two provinces of Daikundi and Bamyan.

In accordance with its mandate as a political mission, UNAMA supports the Afghan people and government to achieve peace and stability. UNAMA backs conflict prevention and resolution, promoting inclusion and social cohesion, as well as strengthening regional cooperation. The Mission supports effective governance, promoting national ownership and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights.

UNAMA provides 'good offices' and other key services, including diplomatic steps that draw on the organization’s independence, impartiality and integrity to prevent disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. The Mission coordinates international support for Afghan development and humanitarian priorities.