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Working women complain of insecurity and cultural taboo

Working women complain of insecurity and cultural taboo

Jun 02, 2018 - 15:58

TIRINKOT (Pajhwok): The Womeninfo-icon Affairs Department of central Uruzgan province says many educated women are prevented from working in offices due to security problems, cultural restrictions and lack of public awareness.

Local officials acknowledge only a limited number of women are working in the departments of public healthinfo-icon and educationinfo-icon. They, too, have to encounter a variety of problems.

A former women affairs official, Fatima Musavi, told Pajhwok Afghan News she had worked at the department for four years. She claimed facing many issues during her employment.

She alleged people greeted her with abusive words on her way to office. Feeling insecure, she often feared being kidnapped any time. “That’s the reason why I left my job five months ago. Now I’m staying at my home,” she added.

Musavi, who would walk several kilometres to her office, called insecurity on the way another reason for her resignation.

Ayesha, a student of 10th grade at the Malalai High School, said many girls did not go to school due to harassments and insecurity. The girls who could not go to school either stay at homes or move to other provinces to continue education.

She said the security situation had become worse in Uruzgan. Even in Tirinkot, the provincial capital, girls avoided going to school because of cultural restrictions and street harassment.

A teacher at the same school, wishing to go unnamed, said her husband told her daily to quit her job. People in her neighbourhood are against women working in government offices.

Women activists complain if the situation remained the same, the incumbent female workers would also leave their jobs. A well-placed source revealed the only woman employee at the governor’s house also recently left her job.

Obaidullah, a resident of Tirinkot, said they had no issue with women working in offices. But insecurity and harassment prompted them to stop women going to work, he added.

When complete security was ensured in the province, the man believed, women would come out of home and work with complete confidence.

The Women Affairs Department, meanwhile, admitted cultural taboo, security issues and lack of public awareness -- issues that discourage educated women from working. 

Women Affairs Director Najiba Mehrzad said when government vacancies were announced, women could apply. But educated women could not dare working in government offices, she added.

The number of women employees would increase if family members discharged their responsibility, she believed. The director confirmed the only female worker at her department had opted out.

She said violence against women in Uruzgan was on the increase and over the past few months a number of females had been killed or injured under mysterious circumstances.

But Deputy Governor Abdul Wahid Patan said there was no issue for women in public offices. Every educated woman meeting job criteria could take part in open competition, he concluded.




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