KABUL (Pajhwok): A new survey report shows insecurity, culture of impunity and violence against women have negative impact on the gender’s participation in elections.
The survey was conducted by International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in cooperation with the Afghan Women’s Network by interviewing 570 women during a period of six months, from September 21 to February 21 in 34 provinces of the country.
The survey also provides specific suggestions for the Afghan government, the Independent Election Commission (IEC), civil society and political parties.
“The Afghan government should conduct awareness and educational programs for reducing violence against women and building the capacity of legal officials to follow such cases in courts,” the survey suggests.
It says the IEC should make sure women own enough authority and resources for playing their relevant role and representatives of the gender unit of the IEC be present in employment committees for appointing senior workers.
The civil society should launch public awareness campaigns and highlight the importance of women’s political partnership on leadership level, the report further suggests.
It requests political parties to make their plans and rules that contain commitments to respecting women’s rights and providing them safe political environment, developing a policy that should fight gender discrimination as well as sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women.
Robina Hamdard, in charge of the advocacy section in AWN while presenting the report findings at a press conference here, said the survey was launched for the assessment of women’s situation during the October 20 and 21 Wolesi Jirga elections across the country to find out what types of violence women face and what factors influence their participation in elections.
“The findings of this survey show that political rivals intentionally kill personalities using social structures and they try to damage the honor of female candidates, threat them or directly stop them from running in election,” she said.
She said publishing provocative and unreal pictures of female candidates on social media by their political rivals was aimed to confuse the public, put pressure on women to stop them from participating in elections.
Hamdard said the high rate of women’s sexual harassment in political area spread wrong concepts among people that women running in elections were morally corrupt.
Women candidates have repeatedly complained about their harassment by police, election workers, political parties’ leaders and election institutes, she said.
Mari Akrami, AWN head said women had been provided many services in the seven zones of the country over the last one year.
She said the survey would help the AWN in the next political and security processes, particularly in the ongoing peace process.
“This study helps us get prepared for the next presidential election. It is not the election commission’s responsibility alone but everyone of us should have the responsibility to stop abusive figures,” she said.


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