In 2015, Women and children legal Research Foundation conducted a joint research report in cooperation with Heinrich Boell Stiftung - Afghanistan on women’s participation in peace the process in Afghanistan. In this research, WCLRF found out number of key challenges that women face to meaningfully participate in the peace process. Some of these challenges include, lack of political will, low trust on women’s capacity within HPC as well as low coordination among women at HPC and outside.
In 2016, WCLRF, further studied the role of women in HPC and developed a guideline for engendering peace process in Afghanistan2. The findings on the guideline were fairly the same as of the research report where women at HPC did not have a clear role as well as they were not consulted for many important discussions in relation to Peace in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, in 2016 WCLRF established an advocacy committee for increasing women’s participation in the peace process with the membership of 20 civil society organizations. Taking further practical step, the organization afterwards planned to develop Women’s Manifesto on Peace, Security and Political Participation. The Manifesto primarily aims to understand and analyze the root challenges to women participation and to present key recommendations to overcome such shortcomings.
After the fall of Taliban and with establishment of interim and elected governments since 2001, political participation of women seemed to be one of the key priorities of the government as well as the international community. However, after working for around a decade and half, still women’s participation is unstable. There are some members in national unity government, but their voice regarding gender equality are not considered. Since then, women have worked hard for their representation as well as their voices to be heard. Even though women constitute more than 25% of Lower and Upper house in the parliament, their voice and demands about women rights is rarely heard or taken into consideration. Also, it was discouraging to see, the first ever female judge to get the membership of Supreme Court High Council failed due to absence of many woman parliamentarians on voting day3. Therefore, for better delegation of women’s rights and their needs, the current and future parliament members shall be further empowered so as they can actively delegate the half population of Afghanistan.
In addition, worsening the security situation in Afghanistan, poor participation of women in the local governments and unavailability of support and protection to employed women, are the key challenges which have diversely affected the political participation of women in Afghanistan. As the findings of a research report on women’s participation in security sectors demonstrate, women only constitute two percent in those sectors. Women are not only appointed to leading and decision-making positions in security and political institutions, but face many other problems such as discrimination, sexual violence and harassment and vastly.
Through Women’s Manifesto on Peace, Security and Political Participation, WCLRF has further examined the challenges and is providing set of key recommendations to National Unity Government and the international actors. This Manifesto is also developed in relation to the finding of WCLRF earlier research and recalls on the organizations recommendations with coopeartion of Heinrich Boell Stiftung - Afghanistan.