Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Concerns over Women Unsafe Work Environment in Afghanistan

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Concerns over Women Unsafe Work  Environment in Afghanistan

Based on repeated reports or rumors which circulated in social media networks in recent months, there is a growing concerns about women unsafe work environment in Afghanistan. Although some of the reports might be baseless rumors and have certain political purposes, it certainly impacts on public opinion, and so many families may lose their confidence about women work environment in the country. When rumors release about women work environment, it is obvious that people think a large parts of the problems are still underground and not disclosed due to traditional considerations in the country. Thus, people may think that it is hard for women to reveal and file a formal complaint against such harassment owing to personal considerations and the question of their dignity in the community, and so women will be subject to more restrictions.
In modern era, though the government has made multiple legislative document including: 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 enough 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.
When we talk about women unsafe work Environment in Afghanistan, this never means that no changes have occurred in women’s life in Afghanistan. if we compare the current condition to the Taliban era when women as half of population had a Zero participation in social life, it has increased more than 25% in civil servants and also security sectors while playing important role in all areas. But it is expected that this participation should be free of all types of harassment and job environmental annoyance. 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.
It is worth to mention that the women braveness and self-defense never negates the responsibility of governments. The government needs to observe it in their own way, and this is a sign of democracy and the provision of human rights in democratic systems. Without doubt, the merely written legal documents are not enough and require necessary mechanism and coordination 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.
As woman forms half of Afghan society, their positive role is 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 women harassment in the community, especially in public and private administrations there is need for specific mechanism appropriate with social contexts of the country. The government is responsible to pursue appropriate policy against the issues. 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. 
Similarly, women have a specifics rights and status in Afghan culture such as dowry rights, legacy rights, education rights, work rights and so on. Unfortunately, the men religious scholars do not fulfill their responsibilities to highlights these rights on the basis of domestic values and culture which is acceptable for all layers of the society. Many men may feel uneasy when their wife asks her dowry rights or legacy rights because they are unaware of these women’s rights. Therefore, these issues of women should be more highlighted as it has important influence on mass of the people. To end with, women rights are human rights everyone should take part for establishment of a safe work environment for women. 
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Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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