Women's Political Participation in Afghanistan: an Agenda for Afghan Women's Empowerment by Nasim Basiri

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Women’s political participation in Afghanistan:
An agenda for Afghan women’s empowerment

Nasim Basiri

“As a global trend, rising number of women in politics will indicate that human beings are making progress towards a more humane world-not because women are necessarily more humane than men, but because any society that categorically excludes half of its members from the process by which it rules itself will be ruled in a way that is less than fully human”
Kathlene
Introduction
The world over women are struggling to break the shackles that bind them challenging the unequal distribution of power in society. Transforming the existing in egalitarian pattern of gender relationships necessitates leadership in the state, markets and civil society- the key centers of power in the present globalizing economy. It is, therefore, imperative for women to be in the corridors of power and have the power to negotiate a better deal for themselves, if they are to influence policy decisions which have an impact upon them. Empowerment of women in all spheres, in particular the political sphere is crucial for their advancement and foundation of a gender-equal society. It is central to the achievement of the goals of equality, development and peace. Women’s political empowerment is premised on “three fundamental and non-negotiable principles: a) the equality between women and men; b) women’s rights to self representation and self determination.”(1) In empowerment, the key indeed is ‘power’; it is power to ‘access, ‘control’ and make ‘informed choices’.
According to the Jakarta declaration “empowerment of women is not only an equity consideration, it was also a necessary precondition for sustainable economic and social development. Involvement of women in the political arena and in decision-making roles in an important tool for empowerment as well as monitoring standards of political performance.”

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