Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, May 27th, 2019

The Need to Establishment of Safe Working Environment for Women

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The Need to Establishment of Safe Working  Environment for Women

Unfortunately, many expressions and reports indicate that women job holders and job seekers are secretly and mentally harassed, particularly sexual harassment is more common in public offices. On the other hand, it is hard for women to reveal and file a formal complaint against such harassment due to personal considerations and the question of their dignity in the community, and so women are subject to more restrictions. However, the government has made various decisions and actions, especially in terms of ratifying many legislative acts: the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Law on the Prevention of Women and Children harassment and the Strategy for Protection of Women and so on. These are all the legal documents approved to support women but  the main problem is that the case of women harassment is not officially registered, even though, everyone is aware that a major part of our community are still harassed in the public arena including family, educational institutions, work places and also on the streets. This is the fact that no one can deny at all.
Therefore, the issue of women should be more highlighted as it has important values in all countries of the world. All governments are required to observe it in their own way, and this is a sign of democracy and the provision of human rights in democratic systems.  Most of the countries have reflected and retained the respect and protection of women’s rights and their human dignity in their legislative documents, and also predicted its implementation mechanism. Hereupon, Afghanistan has also made many efforts to protect women’s rights and dignity. A large amount of money has been spent in past 18 years, yet there are daily concerns about the inappropriate situation of women in Afghanistan, especially in the government department during their formal duties and job seeking process facing with illegitimate demands.
According to women, this inhumane problem remains a major concern for women community. For this reason, international institutions have always stressed that the situation of women in Afghanistan is not desirable and they face a very fragile situation both in their individual and social life.  Although women make up half of the society and have high abilities and capacities, they have less participation in various fields as they do not have adequate occupational safety. Unfortunately, the government has not much success in its efforts to eradicate the issues. However, the government has shown determination to further increase the participation of women in various social, political, economic and cultural spheres.
The positive role of women and girls are not deniable in social and economical activities. Neglecting women role and women rights will make their effective abilities disappear and their talents not flourish. Therefore, it is necessary to provide more supportive opportunities in the field of women’s and girls’ educational, managerial and political participation. Providing equal opportunities to women and considering their role in development of the country, will promote human development and progress in society; while their deprivation, they will deprive the community of their ability.
To fight against violence, the protection of women’s occupational security, the elimination of harassment against women and girls in the community, especially in public and private administrations, and the elimination of discrimination against them in any case, are considered to be important obligations of government. The government is responsible to pursue appropriate policy of eliminating discrimination against women. The Afghan national constitution explicitly states that “Afghan citizens, including women and men, are equally entitled to equal rights and obligation against law.”  In addition, the penal code, legal regulations and strategy for the protection of women’s rights in the agencies, in particular the strategy of women economic rights and occupational safety and its implementation is considered necessary in various participatory fields, especially women’s economic activities. 
Undoubtedly, the merely written legal documents are enough and its implementing mechanism is also important and requires necessary coordination and efforts among all the relevant organs. Otherwise, the existing problems will remain challenging. Thus, proper opportunities and capacities for women in government and non-governmental agencies will not be provided. Problems in the field of education and training, employment in government and non-governmental organizations, and participation in all social and political activities of women will remain unresolved; as a result, the real freedom and safe environment for women will not be provided.
Nonetheless, the presence of women has increased in the government bodies comparing to previous years, and more than 25% of civil servants and security sectors are women while playing important role in all areas. It is expected that this participation increase with the efforts of the government and society so that they may enjoy safer environment in the future. In addition to government supports, the courage and resistance of women and girls are also important. Experience has shown if women themselves do not fight against the culture of cruelty and do not seriously react against harassment, especially sexual harassment, the unfavorable situation will never change.
It is true that women are the most vulnerable people in all human societies, especially in poor and underprivileged countries; but the determination of women and girls to defend their rights and secure their legitimate demands are important. Moreover, institutionalization of women’s rights and dignity requires public endeavor and women educational empowerment. Maintaining the dignity and rights of women alongside men is definitely in the interest of society and will bring about social and human development. It is hoped the mutual efforts of government and courageous women may change the situation and we see the true freedom of women in our county.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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