Kabul Symposium On Afghan Women’s Empowerment
And Their Role in Afghan Society
Kabul, Afghanistan, 20-22 May, 2016
After an arduous and obstacle ridden journey of many years in the pursuit of our aspirations and demands for a better life, and notwithstanding the differences in our intellectual approaches, we, Afghan women, have stepped forth together to speak up in one voice and recover our rights.
As part of our efforts, we have held these past two days a Symposium on Afghan Women’s Empowerment and Their Role in Afghan Society under the guidance of HE the First Lady of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Afghan Women Network, and with the financial support of the United States of America and the Kingdom of Norway.
This symposium marks an important historical milestone as women from all 34 provinces of Afghanistan successfully undertook the planning and execution of this event that included 300 participants. By transparently sharing their perspectives, opinions and thoughts, they decidedly helped strengthen democracy, trust building and participation.
In preparation to the upcoming Warsaw NATO summit in July 2016, and the Brussels Conference in October 2016, this symposium demonstrates the commitment of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) to Women’s Empowerment.
Building on the recent important achievements of GoIRA, the symposium concluded with a list of recommendations regarding the place of women in Islam, the justice system, politics, media, economy, health, education, peace, security, and culture. These are as follows:
Women’s Place in Islam
- Raising Public Awareness from pulpits and mosques about the teachings of Islam on the place of women and their rights in Islam and monitoring religious preaching by the Ministry of Haj and Islamic Affairs, especially in regards to women’s rights.
- Government Support for the appointment of women at the Ulema Council.
- Propagation of Islamic teachings on women.
Women in the Justice System
- Raising awareness about the existing laws in force in the country.
- Government support for the appointment of a women at the Committee for the Refinement of the Law.
- Strengthening the Justice System in order to address the cases of violence against women with special attention to the standardization of courts and attorneys.
- Affirmative Action towards recruitment of female judges.
- Building standardized prisons for women including health centers throughout the country; and recruiting female police officers to run them.
- Government support for the appointment of a female judge to the Supreme Court.
- Serious attention to the enforcement of justice and legal punishment of perpetrators of violence against women, particularly in Farkhunda’s case, and elimination of the culture of impunity.
- Providing more opportunities for the application of the EVAW law and of the regulations against sexual harassment in educational and governmental institutions.
Women’s Political Participation
- Maintaining strong political will for the implementation of the 1325 National Action Plan (NAP).
- International support for the implementation and financing of the 1325 NAP.
- Promoting women’s political participation at all leadership levels, particularly in the provinces and the districts.
- Transparency and Accountability to the public by the government, the international community and the Civil Society Organizations regarding the design and implementation of national and international programs for women.
- Upholding the principles of the Afghan constitution, especially those stated in its second chapter.
- Supporting and encouraging women’s participation in the electoral process, and securing a well-managed process for campaigning, registration, and voting.
- Maintaining the participation of Afghan Civil Society in National and International Conferences.
Women in the Media
- Allocating academic scholarships in Journalism for women.
- Strengthening our National TV in the view of protecting our National Interest.
- Supporting the creation of a national TV for women.
- Supporting the management role of women in media.
- Providing individual security to women journalists.
- Discouraging the broadcast and dissemination of sexist audiovisual productions on women.
- Strengthening the role of media in promoting family values and social culture.
Women in the Economy
- Securing women’s equal access to economic resources at the provincial, district and village levels, and supporting businesswomen at the national and international levels.
- Facilitating the marketing of women’s products on the national and international markets.
- Providing economic security to vulnerable women, especially widows, women with handicaps, and internally displaced women.
- Reviving/creating factories where only women are employed.
- Creating awareness among men of the importance of empowering women economically and enlisting their support in this regard.
- Supporting women’s active involvement in the various government institutions dealing with trade and commerce.
- Establishing a mechanism to improve coordination between government and non-government entities attending to the economic empowerment of women.
- International Support for funding the budget of the National Women’s Economic Empowerment Plan.
Women in Health
- Conducting health training programs for men and women both in Kabul and the provinces in regards to maintaining a healthy environment.
- Establishing diagnosis centers for Cancer, in particular for breast cancer.
- Improving women’s access to health facilities throughout the country; creating mobile clinics for the treatment of psychological ailments in provincial centers.
- Providing specialized professional training to women in various health fields, including mental health, midwifery and nursing.
- Providing additional psychological, social and health-related support to women victims of violence by increasing the government budget for the delivery of basic health services.
- Reviving the national pharmaceutical industry.
Women in Education
- Propagation of the culture of Peace and Non-Violence within families and society by preparing and distributing appropriate educational material to school students.
- Conducting awareness programs through religious leaders about the importance of education for girls according to Islam.
- Providing educational opportunities for vulnerable children, particularly children of martyrs, returnees and internally displaced families.
- Maintaining the recruitment of women at all levels of the educational system in the cities.
- Seriously attending to the training and recruitment of women in order to staff all levels of the educational system in the provinces.
- Building standardized dormitories at all-girl high schools and universities in the provinces.
- Launching national campaigns against illiteracy among women.
- Continuing International support for quality education, by focusing on increasing female teachers, and by providing both community and accelerated education.
Women and Peace
- Increasing women’s active participation at the leadership level in the peace process and negotiations and the re-integration process.
- Maintaining Civil Society’s positive pressure in the peace-building process.
- Promoting Peace within families and society as a necessary step towards establishing sustainable Peace at the national level.
- Government support for the place and role of women in the peace process.
Women and Security
- Supporting the appointment of women at leadership levels in the security sector.
- Strengthening individual security provided to active women at various levels of government and society.
- Continuing the national recruitment campaign of women in the police and the army.
- Ensuring that buildings of both Defense and Interior ministries provide specific rooms for the needs of enlisted women.
- Public Awareness campaign on the positive role of policewomen in maintaining a safe society.
- International Support towards the continuation of capacity building among women in the security sector.
- Supporting the appointment of specific positions for women in the various security institutions so as to ensure their eventual promotion to high ranking posts.
Women and Culture
- Naming some of the scientific and educational centers after Afghan women heroes,
- Raising Public Awareness about real Afghan Culture
- Supporting women cinematographers as well as institutions producing documentary films on women
- Supporting female artists and cultural educators
- Establishing Libraries and Cultural Centers.
- Preserving Afghanistan’s Cultural Heritage
- Increasing the Development Budget of the Cultural sector.
The successful implementation of the above recommendations requires the national commitment of Afghan women as well as the political and financial support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the International Community.
Kabul, May 22, 2016