Women and the Afghan Elections

UN Radio just ran an interview transcript about women’s participation in the Afghan elections. They interviewed Sayeda Mojgan Mostafavi, who works with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs as a Technical and Policy Deputy. Two things I didn’t know – the Afghan government has set aside 30% of provincial seats for women, and UNIFEM has a special center for the support of female politicians. The center provides things like “taxi fare to a woman candidate in danger, which can mean the difference between life and death, or danger and a safe place.” That hurts just to think of, honestly. You’ve got to be awfully brave to be a woman politician in Afghanistan.

Ms. Mostafavi sounds hopeful but not optimistic about women’s participation in the upcoming election:

Still most of women are living under the poverty line, still there are lots of women who can’t read and write and this is a big challenge for them because when they are not literate, how can they participate in the good work and the good job of this country. I hope that we can see many, many good changes about the life of the women and I hope that the new president of this country has more effort towards the good life of women of this country.