Afghan Women's Network

Afghan Women's Network

Afghan Women Envision Better Afghanistan Post 2014

Position Paper on the occasion of London Conference on Afghanistan 

Afghanistan is at a critical juncture. The recent transfer of political power from former president Hamid  Karzai  to  President  Mohammad  Ashraf  Ghani,  signing  of  the  Bilateral  Security Agreement  (BSA)  between  the  Afghan  government  and  government  of  the  United  States, signing of Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) with NATO and handover of transition process from  the  international  security  forces  to  Afghan  National  Security  Forces  are  positive  steps towards ensuring a sustainable Afghanistan. 
The London International Conference on Afghanistan will provide the first opportunity for the new Afghan government to share their plans and commitments for implementation of Tokyo Mutual  Accountability  Framework (TMAF)  and  other  relevant  development  initiatives.  This conference will also be an important platform for the international community to reaffirm their 2012 Tokyo conference commitments, discuss plans for the distribution of aid, and renew their commitment to supporting Afghan women’s empowerment. 
These shifts will profoundly impact the lives of Afghan women. Despite the gains they have achieved, many still face challenges stemming from insecurity, violence and discrimination. In remote  areas,  women  lack  basic  rights  such  as  access  to  education,  health  and  social presence. 2012  and  2013  were  the  most  violent  years  to  date  for  Afghan  women, 1 and international media continue to depict Afghanistan as one of the most dangerous countries for 
women 2 .  At  the  current  moment  increasing  numbers  of  attacks  on  employed  women  has negatively impacted their active participation in politics, economic and public life. 3 The Afghan Women’s Network’s (AWN) believes 13 years of achievements for the improvement of Afghan women’s lives are linked to the support and contribution of the former government and international community. We want to protect these achievements by representing Afghan women  in  this  conference.  To  that  end  AWN  consulted  over 100  women  in  Kabul  and surrounding provinces in developing this paper. We seek to present Afghan women’s views, to 
outline  their  needs  as  well  as  recommended  solutions  in  eight  critical  areas: 1)  good governance; 2) peace and security; 3) access to justice; 4) political participation; 5) economic development;  6)  healthcare;  7)  education;  and  8)  donor  support  for  GIRoA.  The  following recommendations are intended to inform discussions at the London International Conference on Afghanistan. 

1.  Good Governance 

  • Appoint women to decision-making roles within government ministries and independent  institutions. 
  • Consult  women  in  government  and  civil  society  in  planning,  implementation,  and  monitoring  of  national  and  international  frameworks 4  to  guarantee  participation,  transparency and accountability on the part of the Afghan government. 
  • Women’s participation leading the fight against administrative corruption for an effective  impact  should  be  a  priority.  More  competent  women  should  be  given  authority  and  responsibility   in   Independent   Joint   Anti-Corruption   Monitoring   and   Evaluation  Committee and High Office of Anti-Corruption. 
  • Develop strategies and serious follow up toward the implementation for ending all forms of structural and social discrimination against women. 

2.  Peace and Security 

  • Enforcement and implement the Afghanistan National Action Plan on Women, Peace,  and Security. 
  • Recruit,  retain,  and  strategically  integrate  women  in  the  Afghan  National  Security Forces, including at the decision-making and leadership levels. 
  • Allocate  20 percent of seats on the National Security Council to women in order to  factor gender considerations into national security planning. 
  • Create an oversight committee including police women and civil society representatives  to monitor the appointment and daily work of the Afghan Local Police units. 
  • Review  the  performance  of  the  High  Peace  Council  (HPC).  This  should  focus  on  assessing  the  level  of  participation  of  women  in  the  Afghan  peace  process.The analyzes should identify gaps and advise proposed changes to the HPC structure to help ensure experienced and qualified women are appointed. 

3.  Access to Justice 

  • Empower  the  formal  judicial  system  to  contend  with  administrative  corruption  that interferes with women’s access to justice. 
  • Support  specific  strategies  and  plans  to  monitor  implementation  of  Elimination  of  Violence against Women law (EVAW). 
  • Support  mechanisms  to  ratify  and  implement  family  law  to  address  elimination  of  domestic and social violence against women. 
  • Serious  support  and  practical  measures  towards  ratification  and     enforcement  of regulation to prevent discrimination against women and regulation of prevention of all forms of sexual harassment against girls and women   in order to prevent all sorts of  discriminations and negative attitude toward women at the national level,  Guarantee prevention and protection of women and girls from sexual harassment and  sexual  and  gender  based  violence  within  government  institutions,  education,  higher education  and  societal  platforms  through  implementation  of  specific  regulation  and policy. 
  • Serious follow up of the legal procedures of perpetrators committing   violence,   sexual and gender abuse to women, increase the number of women judges at the provincial level, establish elimination  of violence  against women  special courts at the  national level  and  establishment  women  shelters  to  support  women  victims  of  all  forms  of violence in all provinces. 

4.  Political Participation 

  • Provide  political  and  diplomatic  support  for  women-led  advocacy  organizations      to  reform the electoral law to increase the quota for women on Provincial Councils from  20% to 25%. 
  • Increase  women’s  representation  to  a  minimum  of  30%  within  senior  leadership positions in the administrative and judicial branches of government. 
  • Support  participation  of  women  at  the  national,  regional  and  international  decision  making levels through diplomatic pressures and financial support as and when needed. 
  • Support further formation of women’s networks for shared learning on local and regional cooperation (that should include women in politics and government). 

5.  Economic Development 

  • Increase the participation of women in the Economic High Council of the Ministers to advocate for women’s economic empowerment; 
  • Networking and create links between Afghan Business Women with the GoIRA, private sector and CSOs; 
  • Provide  credit  to  women,  create  simplified  conditions  for  women’s  access  to  loans (especially for those women who do not own land and properties); 
  • Develop  and  increase  women’s  entrepreneurial  education  and  training  opportunities (Technical and vocational Trainings); 
  • Implement economic procedures considering the gender requirements based on urban economic development, rural and regional economic development; 
  • Support initiatives that provide easier access for women in the labor market. 

6. Healthcare

  • Develop  and  increase  the  number  of  healthcare  centers  at  the  provincial  level  for women. 
  • Allocate specific budget for productivity health and prevent maternal mortality. 
  • Develop healthcare insurance for women especially insurance for numerous cancers. 
  • Evaluate and improve the quality of healthcare services for women (including psychic healthcare). 
  • Provide quality health care for women (including psychosocial care) 

7.  Education 

  •  Inclusion  of  women  in  decision-making  and  managing  educational  and  scientific opportunities. 
  • Increase women’s access to vocational and educational trainings. 
  • Support the creation of educational opportunities for people with disabilities. •   Promote literacy, higher education, and technical skill building for women. •   Develop and improve the capacity of technical instructors across the country.
  •  Increase the number of women teachers. 

8.  International Donor Support for GoIRA 

  • Encourage and support of allocation of gender based budgeting to empower women through government ministries. 
  • Ensure programming, consultation and funding for women activists and organizations to develop effective, long-term and sustainable programs for women across the country. 
  • Support  the  inclusion  of  women  in  implementing  and  monitoring  women  focused programs  to  ensure  the  transparency  of  Tokyo  Mutual  Accountability  Framework (TMAF) implementation focus. 
  • Make  funding  for  the  Afghan  government  conditional  on  attention  to  gender  and inclusion of women, with a particular focus on women and the justice sector. 

4  Afghanistan   Constitution,   NAPWA,   CEDAW,   UNSCR   1325