Women’s role in peace process termed symbolic
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Participants of a conference in the capital of northern Balkh province on Sunday said women had been given “a symbolic representation” in the government-initiated peace process.
The conference “More Women’s Participation in Peace Process” was organised by the Afghan Women’s Network (AWN) in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital.
Civil society activists and government officials attended the conference. Aarifa Safar, AWN chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News the peace process was incomplete without women’s participation.
She said women had a symbolic presence at the central capital and provincial level in the High Peace Council (HPC), a government body tasked with opening talks with the rebels.
Safar said the peace process would not succeed until practical steps were taken to involve the gender in the effort.
Aarifa said women could play better role than men in the national reconciliation since females had always been in cordial relationship with their husbands, brothers and fathers. Women could influence militants to change their ideas, she believed.
The AWN director said women could easily find access to areas under militants’ control areas and militants’ houses.
The government could draw fruitful results from women’s participation in the peace process, she continued. “The HPC has assured me several times of increased women’s participation in the peace process but never did it in real”.
Shkiba Shakib, a former lawmaker, also stressed greater women’s say in the peace process and said the government could not achieve anything until it gave women their due share in all the affairs, including the peace process.
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