Women’s gains in past decade termed ‘symbolic’
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Despite efforts over the past decade to bring about a positive change to women’s lives in the northern Afghanistan, the gender continues to be discriminated against when it comes to seeking justice and speaking out for rights equal to men.
These views were expressed by a number of civil society activists in northern Balkh province to Pajhwok Afghan News on Tuesday on the occasion of marking the International Women’s Day. Five gatherings marking the day were organized in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital.
The activists were of the view that instead doing basic things only symbolic measures were taken during the past 16 years in the name of improving women’s situation.
Activist Sana told Pajhwok the campaign against violence against women had so far been of a propaganda nature and only confined to urban centres.
She said the women in villages continued to experience domestic violence and both men and women in rural areas were still unaware about their rights.
But another civil society activist, Shakiba Mahar, said the celebration of March 8 at least remembered the women and their rights.
She said if the day was not celebrated even in cities, the women would be completely forgotten.
While head of the civil society groups association, Ustad Hamid Sefwat, said the available resources had not been properly utilized during the past 16 years to improve the situation of women in the country.
He said the Afghan women remained deprived of justice and rights given to the men. He said it was impossible to recover the resources wasted during the past decade.
One of the gatherings marking the women’s day was organized by the Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission office in Mazar-i-Sharif.
The office head, Syed Mohammad Sami, expressed his concern over the incidents of violence against women.
He said so far 413 cases of violence against women had been registered during the outgoing solar year in four northern provinces --- Samangan, Balkh, Jawzjan and Sar-i-Pul --- showing a 12 percent increase.
He said the cases included murder, sexual attacks, beatings and punishment by kangaroo courts. He linked the violence against women to abject poverty, insecurity and ignorance.
Violence against women’s section head at the provincial attorney’s office, Fauzia Hamidi, said powerful individuals in many areas were preventing incidents of violence against women from being reported.
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