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Women’s rights and the new govt

Despite some gains on political, economic and security fronts, women continue to face formidable security, human rights, social, educational and economic challenges. Their real development lies in economic growth. Talking on challenges to women entrepreneurs, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said Monday that inaccessibility to loans and lack of market training facilities undermine their growth. Chief of the ACCI, Atiqullah Nusrat called on the government to provide soft loans and market tendencies training to women entrepreneurs in order to boost the process of national economy development. Apart from economic challenges, women also face political rights insecurity particularly when the government failed in keeping its promise of appointing four women to the new cabinet. This failure of the government stirred protest demonstration in Kabul where dozens of Afghan women marched to the ministry of women’s affairs to condemn President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, for failing in keeping their promises. From the very outset, from his political campaign days to forming the National Unity Government, Ghani said many positive things about women’s rights, but how much has he succeeded in keeping his promises and plans. During his campaign days he vowed he would appoint four women to the cabinet and a woman to the Supreme Court. This paper hailed his promises at that time, but now that he has formed a coalition government, he should tell the nation particularly women that where is the problem. What does make him failing? Similarly Abdullah Abdullah also pledged 25 percent representation of women on key government posts such as cabinet, local government, embassies, judicial organs and business bodies while thirty percent seat allocation in civil services. He should also tell the nation and women how he is going to implement his plans related to women’s welfare. Women’s empowerment is inextricably linked to the achievements and performance of the government but given that the government keeps its promises in mind. Women expect much from the process of reconstruction and the current polity. Any denial on the part of the government would be considered betrayal. At the same time the government will lose the right to condemn any retrogressive elements including the rebels for women’s rights abuses. Besides that there is much to do to deconstruct a diehard mindset that doesn’t permit women to do jobs outside their houses. Today women are working outside, but this doesn’t mean at all many men have accepted this is a woman’s fundamental right. They are forced to accept it because of economic challenges as people live under extreme inflation that kills their buying capacity and any of the family members sitting idle is considered to be a heavy burden on the family. If women use this opportunity positively men wouldn’t have any problems with it in the future. All the taller claims about security, education, cultural and social development, economic gains, and optimism that Afghanistan is entering a new era, will be swept away and will look extremely hollow if women don’t get a fair share. They are citizens of the country with the same human rights being enjoyed by men. They are not sub-citizens or sub-humans. Despite challenges, it’s worth satisfaction that women in business own 15-18 percent of factories or hold partnership. Businesswomen should be encouraged to increase the percentage of women entrepreneurs, because nothing can empower women in true sense until they are well-off economically.

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