After more than a decade of an international intervention and close to the proclaimed second post-2014 transition phase, women's political participation remains precarious and volatile in Afghanistan despite inroads made. Regardless of violence and discrimination faced by society and politicians, women participate at all levels of Afghan society and politics – as voters, candidates, lawmakers, council members, ministers, governors, bureaucrats, civil society activists, members of the security forces or the judiciary. Many women parliamentarians were reelected and became more experienced as lawmakers; others moved from civil society or provincial councils into national politics, trying to make a difference for Afghanistan's people, in particular women. Discriminatory attitudes among key power-brokers, opinion- and decision-makers, continuously high levels of insecurity and threat along with a decreasing political interest and will of national and international key actors to support gender policies and women's political mainstreaming are some of the key obstacles identified.
Women activists and lawmakers demand due diligence for promises made, inroads built, spaces carved out and steps to be taken to ensure a more peaceful post-2014 Afghanistan. For them, their sociopolitical struggle as lawmakers needs to be supported by responsible intervention and transition actors – be it within Afghanistan's political system and during peace negotiation processes or at regional and international levels.
About the authors:
Andrea Fleschenberg, PhD, is DAAD Long Term Guest Professor at Quaid-i- Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. In 2010/11 she was acting professor of political science at the University of Hildesheim, Germany, and In 2007 visiting professor at the University of the Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan, and in 2006 at the University of Jaume I in Castellon, Spain. Her research areas are comparative politics, democratization, and peace and conflict studies with a particular focus on South and Southeast Asia, gender and politics, state-and institutional building, and transitional justice issues on which she has contributed numerous publication.
Abdullah Athayi, LL.M, is working as program coordinator for Foreign/Security Policies and Democratization with the Heinrich Böll Stiftung. He has been engaged as research assistant with this project in 2012. Previously, as an independent research fellow and as writer, his work concentrated on human and women rights, elections, good governance and youth for local newspapers as well as for national and international organizations.