WCBDO (Women’s Capacity Building and Development Organization) is a national growing organisation in Afghanistan; they support and deliver capacity building activities which allow Afghan women use their talents and skills in different sectors, providing them with an opportunity of learning and working. WCBDO aspire to both contribute and take a role in the development of; human rights, women rights, the rule of law, access to justice in rural area, child rights, social & economical development, health and environment care , education and agriculture. WCBDO can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Answering the question “what does it mean to be a woman in Afghanistan?” is really hard and painful. You could say it simply means “being a no one in Afghan society.” I think being a woman in Afghanistan involves being a slave in a male dominated society, where women are not valued for their work, personality, knowledge, or aspirations. It means always saying “yes” to the male figures in their lives, e.g. fathers, brothers, husbands or sons, to ensure that they are accepted by society and do not give themselves and their family a bad name within their communities. This extends to the work place because if women want to secure promotions they have to always agree with their managers. It is a funny situation, but a reality for women in Afghanistan.
In Afghan society women are teachers, CSO leaders, and Parliamentarian members and very dedicated advocate for peace. Increased access to education has been the most positive change experienced by women in the past decade, progress which, if maintained with public and government support, will have a sustainable beneficial effect on Afghan society.
Yet despite this positive change, simply being a woman is the biggest challenge for women in Afghanistan. Therefore, to improve this situation, attitudes towards women need to be changed to ensure equality. This can be achieved through developing campaigns which raise awareness and educate those within our society, particularly men, about the importance of supporting equality for Afghan women and ending forms of violence towards them.
There is also a need to change the attitudes of religious leaders, those who are misusing the principles of Islam by encouraging other men to suppress women’s rights. We need to find a way to educate them and restrict or control their speech in such matters, because if we did, we would see a decrease in negative attitudes towards women.
Women can develop their future opportunities through, first, gaining access to education and support for their human rights. Women in rural areas particularly need support to allow them to think about themselves and their futures. To help them realize their potential, support needs to be provided and awareness given to men about the value increased participation of women would bring to Afghan society and the need to allow women to have good jobs with a good income. We should also think about the fundamentals and create sustainable job opportunities for women so we can encourage their family to let them work and take part in bringing positive change within their communities.
Q&A conducted with WCBDO Executive Director, Ms Nasima Omari