The Women’s Regional Network, with support of EQUALITY for Peace and Democracy (EPD), launched its research report “Surviving War and Transition” at Kabul University on the 31st of May. The event was attended by university students, media and civil society. The key speakers and panel members were Ms. Najla Ayubi, Deputy Director of The Asia Foundation and member of WRN, Mrs. Hossai Wardak, Deputy Director of EPD and member of WRN, Mr. Masood Azizi, Deputy Minister of Interior, Mr. Nematullah Sayer, Technical Advisor of the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) and Mr. Shahpoor Ahmadi, Advisor of Minister of Interior.
All the speakers showed their support for this landmark report on the struggle for women’s rights conducted in eight provinces. Based on the lived-experiences of Afghan women, the report was able to highlight women’s perspectives about security, corruption and the militarization of aid.
Despite the fact that significant improvements have been made since the Taliban’s removal – for example, 40% of the children attending school are girls and 27% of the Parliamentarians are female, gender equality has not been accomplished yet. The report shows that there is a mismatch between de jure equality and de facto inequality. As Mr. Sayer from MEC pointed out at the event, laws for women’s rights are already in place but they “should be enforced and women should be made aware of their rights”. In order to achieve this, the report found that women need to build a “strong movement and be united”, as Ms. Rahimzay from Open Society Afghanistan and WRN put it.
To ensure the protection of women’s rights, the WRN report outlined several recommendations to the ‘International Community’, the Afghan government and civil society. Two of such recommendations are:
1) The ‘International Community’ and the Afghan government should de-link their security interests from human rights issues and make women’s rights a non-negotiable part of any discussion or policy related to the peace process.
2) Civil society should play a facilitating role in bringing together women from all backgrounds in both urban and rural areas to further women’s rights.
Abstract WRN: Founded in 2011, WRN is a network of female civil society leaders from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, who are working together to strengthen women’s rights and security. WRN aims to work collaboratively within and across borders to ensure human rights, equitable development and the full participation of women in building a just peace.