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Not a single woman voter in 5 districts of Kandahar

Not a single woman voter in 5 districts of Kandahar

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On
Sep 29, 2018 - 11:45

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Fewer womeninfo-icon are contesting Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon polls from southern Kandahar province, where not a single female is in the run for district council elections.

Women’s activities in connection with the election seem to be invisible due to insecurity, primitive traditions and a negative public mindset.

As many as 112 people, including 12 women, from Kandahar are in the electoral fray.

The lack of enthusiasm among women in the election is not confined to the question of candidacy alone. Only a small number of women have registered as voter.

A total of 567,000 people have registered as voter in Kandahar. Of them, 73,000 are women, according to local election officials.

Dr. Aziza, a Wolesi Jirga candidate, noted women’s participation in election, social and cultural activities had been smaller in Kandahar than other provinces.

Insecurity and a negative public mindset were the most worrying challenges in Kandahar for women election runners, she said.

To begin with, said Aziza, the level of literacy is low in Kandahar and fewer educated women could not take part in social activities because of insecurity and old traditions.

She added keeping in mind these challenges she had taken the brave step of nominating herself for the long-delayed parliamentary election.

How she can venture out to meet women and ask them to vote for her in the existing security environmentinfo-icon, the poll contestant asked.

Aziz also referred to another big problem -- male superiority in Afghanistaninfo-icon’s conservative societyinfo-icon. Most of the time, she alleged, male candidates forced women to vote for individuals of their choice.

Provincial Council member and women rights activist Serina Faizi also cited women’s weak position. Most people did not allow their daughters to go to school, she complained, seeing no chance for them to participate in the electoral process.

She said insecurity, a prejudiced public mindset, wrong traditions and cultural restrictions had spawned the current situation. Faizi is particularly bothered by the unjust attitude of society toward women.

“Being an incumbent member of the provincial council, I have been faced with immense challenges and problems. How would a newcomer deal with these challenges?” she questioned.

As a result of support from her family, she was able to continue her work. “Let me acknowledge that in absence of family support, I may not work for a moment.

“There is an acute need for similar support to other women from their families and society at large,” she continued, calling for girls to go to school and work in offices.

Farida, another nominee for Wolesi Jirga polls, agreed women still lived under the control of men and only a small number of them were independent.

Women could not get their tazkiras without permission from their family members, she maintained. She said exercising the right to vote was a highly sensitive issue, she maintained.

According to Farida, many families withdrew their daughters from school after promotion to 9th or 10th grade. Such families will not let women work.

Haji Sharif, a resident of the Kabulinfo-icon Shah area of Kandahar City, said: “It’s enough to educate my daughters. The situation is not suitable for them to take part in electioneering or run for elections, though they have the ability to do so.”

He listed insecurity the biggest problem. Another issue for educated women was society’s misbehaver, the elder said, lamenting conflict, illiteracy and other problems had damaged the social fabric.

Women faced a variety of problems when they went outside of their homes to study or work, he noted.

IECinfo-icon’s deputy head Haroon Kaliwal says 112 candidates, including 12 women, are in the run for the Wolesi Jirga polls. Under gender rules, their number should be equal to men’s.

The province has 11 seats, including three for women, in the lower house of parliament. He confirmed many educated women were not interested in politics.

The educated women, he said, preferred working in fields like educationinfo-icon and healthinfo-icon in accordance with the wishes of their relatives.

Changing such a mindset needed a long time but improvement had still compared about, the official elaborated. He called the participation of women in the national process very low.

In some areas of the province, women have not registered as voters. Kaliwal shared with Pajhwok a list, which indicated women did not register as voters in Shah Walikot, Mianshin, Shorabak, Gork and Registan districts.

Voter registration did not take place in Nesh and Maroof districts. He promised considering the gender issue in recruitment for election duty. There should be polling centres for men and women in each area.

Male workers had to be hired in some insecure districts where travel through land routes is not possible, the official concluded.

nh/sa/mud

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