AT News Report
KABUL: The United Nations in Afghanistan on Friday marks International Women’s Day, which is being observed globally under the theme “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change,” putting innovation at the centre of efforts to build solutions that work for women and girls and achieve gender equality.
“As Afghanistan focuses its attention on a sustainable peace process, the Afghan people have voiced concerns regarding the preservation of hard-won human rights gains, particularly the principles of equality and non-discrimination. These principles are at the very core of this year’s theme of finding innovative ways that remove barriers and accelerate progress toward gender equality,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
Afghan women are still over-represented in the informal economy. They have limited access to social protection, public services and infrastructure that could increase their productivity, financial independence and security. Afghan women also shoulder the responsibility of most household tasks and take care of young and aged family members, UNAMA said in a statement.
“Innovations that respond to the priorities of women can be instrumental in accelerating gender equality. Innovations shaped and influenced by women can result in gender-responsive systems that achieve transformative gains for society. In Afghanistan, we see how women are utilizing available systems to connect and elevate the voices of women across Afghanistan, especially to highlight women’s priorities for peace. It is vital that the ideas and experiences of the women of Afghanistan equally shape Afghan society,” said Aleta Miller, the UN Women Country Representative in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has made important advances in gender equality and the empowerment of women, but much work remains to be done. A gender-responsive social protection system is important if it is to benefit all citizens. Equitable access to public services – such as education, health and justice – is vital to the fulfillment of women’s human rights. Investment in sustainable infrastructure and agricultural practices that respond to the devastating effects of climate change in Afghanistan, in a gender-responsive way, is equally necessary.
“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us be reminded, women cannot be left behind as Afghanistan charts its way towards sustainable peace. Having women actively and substantively participating at the peace decision-making tables is a fundamental and key step towards the shaping gender-responsive laws and policies for the benefit of all Afghans,” said Yamamoto.
International Women’s Day is observed every year on 8 March to rally and build support for women’s rights and participation in every sphere of life.