Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, October 21st, 2018

On International Women’s Day

8thMarch is celebrated as International Women’s Day throughout the world to highlight gender disparities and discrimination and violence against women and urge measures to eradicate them. This year the day was once again celebrated throughout the world, and the theme of the Day was “Pledge for Parity,” which demanded that everyone men and women - can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly - whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. It also urged that everyone be a leader within his own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.
The Day was also celebrated in Afghanistan by different organizations and civil society. Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) launched a “women’s anthem” on the eve of the Day. The purpose of the anthem is to heighten the spirit of women in Afghanistan. 
On the same day, the Office of the Attorney General of Afghanistan (AGO) said that it had finalized the cases of at least thirteen suspects involved in the murder of Farkhunda, who was brutally killed in Kabul by an angry mob; and her family and some of the civil society activists demanded justice for her.
The spokesperson to AGO, BasirAzizi said, “Three of the defendants were convicted to 20 years imprisonment, one person to ten years jail and thirteen others to 16 years jail.”
Though some may believe that justice may have been served, still there are huge gaps to be filled; more work needs to be done regarding the protection of women. The real achievement would be the measurable reduction in the actions that discriminate women or encourage any sort of violence against them. However, that seems to be a Herculean task.
AGO has mentioned that special tribunals have been set for addressing violence against women and so far they have completed 9,572 cases in the provinces. Amongst the cases processed so far there are 828 cases of murder, 2,453 cases of sexual abuse, 75 cases of kidnapping of women, 253 cases of forced marriages, 1,912 cases related to beating and 18 other cases.
This seems encouraging; however, it is still insufficient. These figures only highlight the cases that have been brought to the law; there are many other cases that go unnoticed. Either the victims hesitate to bring their cases to the court because of the mistrust or mostly because of fear. Therefore, there are many cases in different parts of the country that never come out of the confinement of the houses and the discrimination against women has turned into a complex phenomenon.
The fact remains that Afghan society still lacks the modernity and development it needs in order to reach to a respectable position regarding the rights and position of women. The support and assistance of the international community has only been able to provide clean and beautiful attire not a praiseworthy soul to Afghan society. The Afghan social structure has been vehemently dominated by religious extremism and tribal nepotism. Though these factors have affected almost everyone, women have been intensely influenced as they belong to the weaker strata of the society. Most of the self-designed religious doctrines and tribal norms are against the women and discriminate their basic rights. Unfortunately, these norms and doctrines have even gone to the extent of violence and have tortured women physically – mostly in the public.
Afghan society is a patriarchal society wherein all the major institutions are controlled by male members of the society. Though the history of male dominance within Afghan society is not a new phenomenon, its extreme traces can be found within Taliban era. Taliban introduced the worst kind of violence against the women and brought the position of women to its lowest. There were many cases during their reign when women were prosecuted publicly - they were shot in public, beaten brutally and even stoned to death. They were not allowed to come out of their houses; in compelling situations they were allowed to come out only when they had a male escort with them. In short, Taliban displayed the worst kind of discrimination of women through their extremist religious ideology and obsolete tribal values.
The same kind of discrimination against women is still found in Afghanistan though there have been claims of improvements. One of the basic reasons of the survival of such an attitude is the way the females are perceived within Afghan society. The women are considered no more than other personal possession by the male members of the society. They can buy or sell them, use them as convenient and can discard them at their will. No one is there to object.
It is necessary that Afghan government should take serious notice of the discrimination and violence against women. From now on, it must pledge for parity, in all the walks of life. Women should be given equal opportunities to get education, pursue the profession of their choice and should have access to other social rights. In fact, all the members of the society must pledge for the same.