Many provinces celebrate women’s day
March 8 marks International Women’s Day, an annual event that celebrates women’s accomplishments and promotes global gender equality.
This year’s theme is ‘make it happen’ and aims to encourage effective action for advancing and recognising women.
It focuses on women in different professional sectors; the arts, female-owned businesses, in senior leadership roles, and all aspects of working environments where gender parity has still not been achieved.
However, a number of Afghan women in some provinces said the day had nothing to do with their problems.
A gathering marking the day was organized in eastern Nangarhar province. Acting governor Maulvi Attaullah Lodin, other government, security officials and a large number of women attended the event.
Speaking on the occasion, Nangarhar Women’s Affairs Director Anisa Imrani said the aim of celebrating the Women’s Day was to help women know their rights and avail them.
She said significant achievements in women’s political, economic and social affairs had been made over the past decade and the process continued.
In his remarks, Lodin said: “The international community wants women’s rights in line with their laws, but the laws in Afghanistan are based on Islamic principles under which our women have been given their rights.”
Aryun Yun, a lawmaker from Nangarhar, said some progress regarding women’s rights had been made in urban areas, but rural women continued to be deprived of their rights.
A resident of Behsud district, Zakira, said they celebrated the day every year, but it had no benefit for women, who remained deprived of their rights.
The day was celebrated in southern Helmand province, where human rights officials report a 40 percent increase in incidents of violence against the gender.
Human Rights Commission official in Helmand Mohammad Bilal Siqqique told Pajhwok Afghan News the incidents of violence against women rose from 336 last year to 502 this solar year, showing a 40 percent increase.
He linked the increase in crimes against women to insecurity, lawlessness, bad customs, poverty, and others.
But acting governor Mohammad Naeem told a gathering marking the women’s rights day that incidents of violence against females had decreased in Helmand as compared to the past years.
He promised women their problems would be resolved and violators of their rights punished in accordance with the law.
Helmand women’s affairs director, Jamila, said her department was making every effort to resolve women’s issues, but most of the problems remained.
The women’s day was also celebrated in western Herat province, where local officials say 45 women have been killed by their spouses this solar year that ends on March 21.
Women’s affairs director for Herat, Mehboba Jamshidi, told a gathering marking the day that her department gave the government advices about women’s roles in politics, government, economic development and social affairs so that the government could strengthen their these roles.
She said though Herat was one of Afghanistan’s largest provinces, but women’s participation in decision-making, administration and governance had been unsatisfactory here.
She said incidents of violence against women continued to take place in Herat despite their efforts to prevent them.
Doctors at the main hospital in Herat City, the provincial capital, had said 45 women were killed by their husbands this year and some had committed suicide.
Some women said gatherings marking women’s day had only a symbolic significance and had no effect on women’s situation.
Wahidi Samadi, a woman, told Pajhwok Afghan News violence against women had increased in Herat and the latest incident took place yesterday when a man killed his wife.
She said such gatherings took place each year, but promises held out in these events had never been honoured.
Women in southeastern Paktika province claimed nothing had been done for women in the province over the past 13 years.
Paktika deputy governor Attaullah Fazli told Pajhwok Afghan News women in Paktika remained deprived of rights they had been given by Islam.
The only lady doctor in Paktika, Dr. Laila, also said women faced many challenges in health sector besides other areas.
“Still women in districts die at home because cultural restrictions do not allow them to visit hospital and there are insufficient healthcare facilities in districts.”
Paktika women’s affairs director Bibi Hawa Khoshiwal acknowledged women in the province had not been paid attention over the past 13 years as needed. She said improvement in women’s situation had been blocked by cultural restrictions and insecurity.
The women’s day was also celebrated in northern Sar-i-Pul province, where violence against women has declined.
Women’s affairs director Nasima Arzo linked in the decline in violence against women to awareness-creating programmmes for women.
She said incidents of violence stood at 187 this solar year, compared to last year’s 254 incidents.
A gathering was organized at the Afghanistan Human Rights Commission’s office in Kandahar City, the provincial capital to mark the women’s day.
Deputy governor Abdul Ali Shams, women’s affairs director Ruqia Achakzai, departmental heads, female civil society activists and residents of the province attended the gathering.
Achakzai congratulated all Afghan women on celebrating the day, but said many women in Afghanistan continued to be subjected to domestic violence.
She said they had registerted 181 incidents of violence against women in Kandahar this year. The bulk of the cases, 162, were linked to domestic violence, 21 divorce, eight runaway from homes and three murders.
The women’s day was also celebrated in southern Ghazni province.
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