International Women’s Day marked under the theme “empowering women, empowering humanity
The United Nations Assistance Mission
hanistan (UNAMA) is marking March 8, the International Women’s Day, under the global theme “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity”, a statement issued by UNAMA on Sunday said.
The day, the statement said, will be marked to uphold women’s achievements, recognize challenges, and focus greater attention on women’s rights and gender equality in Afghanistan.
Acknowledging that significant improvement has occurred in the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan, the statement said Afghanistan is on the path to becoming a nation where women are empowered to exercise their right in all spheres of public and private life.
Emphasizing the importance of preserving and further advancing the gains, the statement adds that the United Nations is “committed to support the Afghan government and civil society organizations to enhance women’s participation in and contribution to all stages of governance, peace negotiations and peace processes”.
“The Afghan Constitution guarantees women certain rights. Substantial participation of women in the next Parliamentary and district elections is critical to the credibility and inclusiveness of the process,” reads the statement.
“The Afghan government must ensure women’s rights as candidates, voters and electoral workers are fully respected and women actively participate in all reform initiatives,” it said.
Nicholas Haysom, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNAMA, said the new government has pledged to introduce reforms to preserve and safeguards gains made over the past one decade.
“Afghanistan’s new administration has pledged to make the legal, institutional and policy reforms needed to sustain hard-won gains made in women’s rights,” said Mr. Haysom.
The International Women’s Day, the statement said, will be marked to uphold women’s achievements, recognize challenges, and focus greater attention on women’s rights and gender equality in Afghanistan
to emphasize that upholding and advancing women’s rights is an essential step on the road to peace and development. We welcome commitments to ensuring women be properly represented in government and major decision-making bodies affecting the country’s future, especially in any peace talks,” he added.
While the new government has pledged to provide equal opportunities to women, women’s rights activists have accused the government of reducing the quota for women in government.
Both President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah at the inauguration ceremony reaffirmed their commitment to women’s empowerment in Afghanistan and their participation in socio-political affairs.
President Ghani even promised that at least four women will be in the new cabinet of ministers, a commitment he failed to honor. Only three women were nominated in the new cabinet, who eventually faced disqualification owing to discrepancies in their documents
the government to take serious steps in introducing women in the cabinet. The demands include introducing women as ministers, deputy ministers, provincial governors, ambassadors, general directors of the independent departments and ministries.
The statement added that this year, between March 9 and 20, the Commission
on the Status of Women (CSW) will undertake a review of progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, signed by 189 governments 20 years ago.
While the new government has pledged to provide equal opportunities to women, women’s rights activists have accused the government of reducing the quota for women in government
“The CSW will also address opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda, which focuses on key structural constraints to gender equality, universality and global implementation through engagement of all stakeholders: women and men, boys and girls,” reads the statement.
Elzira Sagynbaeva, the UN Women Country Representative in Afghanistan, said it also means that every member of the society plays a critical role in elimination of discrimination against women and girls.
“The reported increase in the number of cases of violence against women and girls is a source of major concern. Violence against women and girls is the most significant manifestation of discrimination and unequal power relations between women and men and must not be tolerated,” said Ms. Sayynbaeva.
“By understanding and ensuring the link between women’s empowerment and the empowerment of the nation, this trend can be reversed”, she further added.
Women’s Day, the statement adds, is a time to reflect on the progress made, to call for change and to celebrate the acts of courage and determination by women and girls.
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