Customs biggest hurdle for working women
ZARANJ (Pajhwok): As women in southwestern Nimroz province took active part in the previous presidential and provincial council elections but their ratio in government offices was abysmally low because of traditional compulsion.
According to local officials, more than 50,000 women who make 40 percent of all voters have participated in the previous election in Nimroz.
Two women had elected as provincial council members while two others as people’s representatives in the Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament.
But negative traditions among communities have forced women to stay away from working in government offices.
Amina Hakimi, director women affairs, told Pajhwok Afghan News that only 50 women were working in government offices including department of women affairs, governor’s house, rural rehabilitation and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
She said that 50 other women were deployed as police officers. “Families’ restrictions are the main reason forcing female not to opt for government jobs,” Hakimi said, adding most women interested to serve as teacher instead.
According to the education department, there are 1,800 teachers in Nimroz with 700 of them female teachers. From 90,000 school students, 48,000 of them are female students studying in 160 local schools.
A teacher Nafisa who teaches at Rodaba School in Zaranj city said that most of families felt some sort of embarrassment when women were working beside men.
“I chose to serve as teacher because my family opposes to work in government offices,” she recalled.
Shah Gul Gulzada, head of Women association, said that negative custom in the community prevented women to work outside.
Masood Hakimi, the provincial council member, said lack of awareness among women about their rights was the main factor barring women to go for government jobs.
He suggested the government should work and encourage women for greater participation in social and government affairs.
Najiba, a resident of Zaranj, the provincial capital, lamented that despite increase in women seats for provincial council, authorities decreased one woman seat.
She said earlier women had three seats in the council but now it has only two seats.
Abdul Hadi Baidar, civil society activist, said: “Our social system is dominated by traditional cultural values which did allow women to move freely and work in offices.”
In addition, he said that growing administrative corruption has spread mistrust in society and women did not feel comfortable to go outside and work in such circumstances.
The women affairs director said her department provided vocational training opportunities to hundreds of women in the province.
She said existence of more than 200 home based beauty salons and 150 makeup artists was a proof of women development in the province.
Abdul Qayyum Nazari, director of works and social affairs, said they have created several vocational training opportunities for women in the province to empower them.
He informed that 840 individuals, including 20 percent women, have been graduated from vocational training courses with majority of them were employed.
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