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Women’s situation improves but challenges remain

Women’s situation improves but challenges remain

Nov 01, 2017 - 17:57

GARDEZ (Pajhwok): The Women Affairs Department of southeastern Paktia province plans to construct a separate market for women’s handicraft products in Gardez, the provincial capital.

Women Affairs Director Nasrin Oryakhel told Pajhwok Afghan News the condition of Paktia women had improved and more step had been undertaken to further ameliorate their lot.

She said women in Paktia had jobs government and private organisations besides making handicrafts and involvement in civil society activities and other walks of life.

Violence against women had declined and so had bad (dispute settlement) marriages, Oryakhel said. “Improvement can be seen in women’s lives. Women are not treated violently.”

It, however, is not the case in all areas. She said the basic point in an improved or happy life was good economic condition. “We are trying to help those women who are in a vulnerable financial situation.

“I have suggested to the president to help construct a separate place and market for Paktia women. The president has been kind in issuing directives in this regard,” she added.

Paktia Women Network Director Zarghona Himmat also acknowledged the level of violence against women had fallen in Paktia and more girls had started going to school.

Himmat called the non-availability of a permanent bazaar for women, lack of professional women doctors and teachers big challenges and blamed the government for not addressing these problems.

“The overall situation has improved compared to the past. We have made some achievements but a number of problems are yet to be resolved,” she continued.

“Our girls quit school after fifth or sixth class because there are no female teachers. Many schools are situated in far-flung areas. In many areas, there are no buildings for schools,” said Himmat.

She added Paktia women did have access to proper clinics no market. The government, she alleged, did not pay proper attention to the condition of women. She asked the authorities concerned to address the problems of women.

But civil society activist Karima believed effective steps had not been taken for the improvement of women’s living standards. She slammed the Women Affairs Department as inefficient.

Many girls were deprived of basic education while some dropped out of school at a tender age. There are no health facilities or economic support for them, she lamented.

Samina, a woman standing in the Civil Hospital, told Pajhwok Afghan News women lived in difficult condition and in some areas they had been doing hard work.

“At times, a woman is not allowed to go to the doctor. In some areas, women collect wood in mountains and fetch water from distant areas,” she said.

Aziza, another resident of the province, said most of women were not aware of health issues and due to lack of facilities in some instances they had even lost their lives.

She also pointed to forced marriage and restriction of girls from completing education in some areas. She said men were more powerful in society, so there was need to pay attention to women’s living conditions.

“Girls’ education is linked to the wishes of fathers and brothers. They don’t know education is their right. Women have hereditary rights given by Islam but our people have kept deprived.

“Women are not looked after properly during pregnancy and childbirth. The protection of women’s rights is not an individual responsibility. Collective efforts are needed,” she remarked.

President Ashraf Ghani, during his recent trip to Paktia, instructed xthe authorities to select a separate place for women in the industrial zone in Gardez and provide them necessary facilities.

The president also ordered the corps commander to allocate military-owned land for the women’s market, where shops and parks would also be constructed.