Homa Hamid, is an afghan national, she left Afghanistan at the age of 13. She is particularly interested in what is happening to women, children and other minorities like the Hazaras.
An Afghan woman’s key role appears to be in the home – as carers to their immediate and sometimes extended family. Young girls are expected to help with housework and caring duties, so their role is defined from an early age. However, with many doors opening due to international involvement in the Afghanistan, women’ role and opportunities has increased. For example, Women are in parliament, they hold key positions in government departments, have joined the police force, the air force and represented in media.
With more women taking advantage of opportunities and participating in community life is a great positive for all. It benefits both women and society as it provides a more pluralistic, inclusive and representative role modelling to continue to build upon.
Afghan women will need long-term, committed support from the international community. Unfortunately, with NATO’s withdrawal the improvements for women could easily be overturned. Both Afghanistan and afghan women will benefit from some form of continued presence by NATO even if in minimal numbers. Both will continue to need foreign aid, Human Rights watch, inclusion in various international organisations, and continuation of NGO projects. Attempt at some containment if at all possible, of religious influence in public life would enable Afghans to move forward with times.
The challenges faced by Afghan women are many; they suffer from high rate of mortality, poverty, illiteracy, lack of or poor access to services. Male authority, together with community, cultural and religious norms, are major barriers to women’s’ sovereignty and self-determination. Many endure high levels of domestic violence, abuse, and rape both in the home and in the community. In addition, the legal system is geared towards unjust, harsh and punitive practices. For example, in cases of rape, domestic violence and divorce, women have been routinely punished.
While suggestion for improvement could be many, the key for sustained long-term improvement include; continued and increasing level of access to education and work; affirmative action measures to increase women’s’ power, authority and decision making; anti- violence projects; women’s shelters and refuges to provide a safe haven; with support, afghan women to continue to find their voice and speak out not only about injustice and women’s’ rights but also to be an active partner in rebuilding their country.
Watch Homa’s My International Women’s Day’s Dream For Afghanistan Video