Participants at one of AWEP’s campaigns for women’s rights in Takhar.

Rights Awarness and Advocacy

Women in Afghanistan enjoy significant rights -on paper at least. The Afghan constitution extends equality to both men and women, the Afghan Civil Code gives women the right to inherit or own property, sets the minimum age for marriage, gives women the right to choose partner as well as initiate marital separation. The election legislation protects women’s right to vote and sets quotas for women to participate in elected bodies. In addition, a range of national programs and policies emphasize the importance of gender equality as a cross-cutting theme.

Although some of these legal protections can be seen in practice, many of them have failed to do so. Child marriage, for example, despite being banned is widely practiced. According to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health 21 percent of women are married by age fifteen and another 53 percent by age eighteen.1 Similarly, women still face barriers in accessing education,2 are routinely excluded from civil service hiring or are denied promotion,3 and are frequently persecuted and incarcerated for moral crimes despite being victims of sexual violence and trafficking.4

We do not want anything more than what our religion and the Afghan Constitution guarantees us but we will no longer be denied our rightsRoshan Siren (Former Afghan MP)

AWEP’s work in upholding the rights of women in Afghanistan is focused on research, support for development, monitoring and implementation of polices and programs that both protect and promote the rights of women in Afghanistan. This is done through:

  • Designing women’s rights interventions in collaboration with progressive sources of Islamic law by reaching out to religious leaders at community level, as well as sharia and law faculties at institutional level.

  • Promoting a culture of respect for women’s rights among youth, local and religious leaders.

  • Raising awareness through media and other channels on women’s rights such as EVAW law and demoting violence against women in accordance with the national laws.

  • Educating parents and family members to reject violence and use non-violent conflict resolution methods.

  • Motivating religious leaders to respect and value women as community partners and including them in local councils.

  • Enhancing women’s political participation in elected bodies by engaging all stakeholders in embracing women’s rights.

  • Undertaking proactive advocacy on key issues concerning women and girls in collaboration with other civil society and women’s organisations in Afghanistan.

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