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Faryab women vexed over insecurity, discrimination

Faryab women vexed over insecurity, discrimination

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Jul 02, 2017 - 17:06

MAIMANA (Pajhwok): Womeninfo-icon in northwestern Faryab province acknowledge significant progress in political, educationinfo-icon and other fields over the past 15 years, but view growing insecurity, negative traditions and discrimination as main challenges.

Asila Gahryak, head of the state-controlled Faryab Magazine, told Pajhwok Afghan News women had made major achievements after an end to Talibaninfo-icon’s oppressive regime 16 years ago.

“Many women and girls, having done graduation and masters, are working in government departments, educational institutes, cultural and civil societyinfo-icon organisations in Faryab.

“They are also working in the handicraft industry. Gender equality is also respected here to some extent, but the worsening insecurity poses a serious hurdle to women’s activities,” she said.

Gahryak said many girls and women had acquired higher education after going through a lot of problems. Unfortunately, they have to stay at home due to insecurity and social taboos, she regretted. Women do not have protection mechanisms, with schools shut for grown-up girls.

A civil society activist in northern Balkh province, Zarmina Zaray, also expressed concern over women’s situation. She said women still did not enjoy their legitimate rights and were recruited symbolically to government offices. They are summarily dismissed on the pretext of having no work experience.

Zaray called insecurity and the negative view of religious scholars the main problems being encountered by Faryab women.

Women could not work in government offices and girls faced problems in attending schools in districts due to insecurity, she grumbled, stressing the need for decisive steps to address the issues.

Women Affairs Director Sharifa Azimi said insecurity, gender discrimination, ossified traditions and mistrust at the family level were the main challenges to women working alongside men in government offices.

“Except in Andkhoi, Qaramqol, Qorghan and Khan Charbagh, girls’ schools in all other districts of the province frequently remain shut and have no female teachers. There are fewer job opportunities for women, who are also subject to harassment,” she charged.

But despite these problems, women still have a large presence in different areas. Eleven percent of government servants, 35 percent of education personnel, 27 percent of university lecturers and 45 percent of university and school students in Faryab are female, she explained.

Azimi added Faryab women were also representatives in parliament, provincial council and in legal, cultural and civil society organisations. Several government departments in Faryab are headed by women, she continued.

“Women want their Islamic rights. Islam allows them to continue education in line with religious teachings. They can also work and have a share in inheritance. But, unfortunately, women are dubbed as Satan and deprived of rights,” she remarked.

However, she said some women expected more from their men without considering the country’s overall security, social and economic situation. The government had failed give women their rights, she alleged, believing there would be no problems in society if the Islamic law was enforced.

Gita Saeed, gender affairs advisor at the governor’s house, endorsed women’s concerns over insecurity but said they were more active in government offices in Faryab, where 50 percent of girls were getting education.

She agreed that some girls were deprived of education due to unawareness of their families from advantages of education and negative customs but said this problem would be gradually resolved.

On the other hand, the governor’s spokesman, Ahmad Javed Baidar, said women’s ole in politics, society and cultural activities was significant. Women are working in key positions and the government has prioritised hiring female workers.

Baidar confirmed insecurity was one of the key challenges for women. particularly for those travelling to rural areas. He promised state organs would try to resolve the problem on priority.

mds/mud

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