Afghan Women's Network
AWN

Afghan Women's Network

Position Paper on the occasion of Senior Official Meeting on Afghanistan

 National Unity Government (NUG), has fair progress in the country’s security, economic growth, democracy, human rights and the rights of women since inauguration.

In the context of women’s political representation and intervention at government level, there are notable progress such as appointment of four women in the cabinet, introducing a woman for the Supreme Court high council and two women governors. It is also encouraging to observer government’s commitment in increasing and engaging women at the deputy ministerial, director and ambassador posts.

Despite these relative improvements, there is much more that needs to be done for life of Afghan women. For most women, little has changed since the days of the Taliban. Many women still face challenges stemming from insecurity, violence and discrimination. In remote areas, women lack exercising basic rights such as access to education, health and social presence. Forced marriages and rapes are still at its peak at various geographies. Access to medical care is spotty with more women dying of childbirth than any other country in the world.  Women are still subject to oppression. Access to justice for women is extremely wage and there are examples of informal justice mechanisms that affected women and girls life on daily basis at the rural level.   

The Senior Official Meeting (SOM) is an opportunity for the National Unity Government to share their plans and commitments for implementation of Tokyo Mutual Accountable Frame Work (TMAF) and agreements made in London Conference. This conference will also be an important platform for the international community to reaffirm their 2014 London conference commitments, discuss plans for the distribution of aid, and particularly re-emphasize on their commitment for supporting Afghan women’s empowerment.

The Afghan Women’s Network (AWN) believes 14 years of achievements for the improvement of Afghan women’s lives are linked to the support and contribution of the Afghan Government and international community.  In SOM, Afghanistan’s success can be measured by setting indicator as progress of Afghan women. We call on NUG and International Community for more practical, implementable and long term commitment towards supporting women’s empowerment across Afghanistan.

We also 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 NUG.  

  1. Good Governance
  • Increase appointment of women to decision-making roles within government ministries and independent institutions.
  • Institute frequent consultation with women in government and civil society in planning, implementation, and monitoring of national and international frameworks[1] to guarantee participation, transparency and accountability on the part of the Afghan government.
  • Involve more women in leading the fight against administrative corruption for impact and results.. 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.

 

  1. Peace and Security
  • Strategically plan and design accountability mechanism to ensure the implementation of    Afghanistan National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.
  • Continue the recruitment, integration and increase decision making role of womenin Afghan National Security Forces,  
  • Allocate 25 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.

 

  1. Access to Justice
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  • 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.
  • Commit towards ratification and  enforcement of regulation to prevent discrimination against women to address different level of discriminations at families, work place, education and higher education institutions and society.
  •  Commit to ratify and implement the regulation to prevent  all forms of sexual harassment against girls and women  in society, work plan and homes.   
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  • Serious follow up of the legal procedures of perpetrators committing  violence,  sexual and gender abuse to women by increasing the number of women judges at the provincial level and establishing elimination of violence against women special courts at the national level.  

 

  1. 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 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.
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  1. Economic Development
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  • Networking and create links between Afghan Business Women with the NUG, private sector and CSOs;
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  • 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.

 

  1. 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)

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. International Donor Support for NUG
  • 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 and other related commitments
  • Make funding for the Afghan government conditional on attention to gender and inclusion of women, with a particular focus on women particularly in justice sector.

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[1] Afghanistan Constitution, NAPWA, CEDAW, UNSCR 1325