Low presence of women candidates in election campaigns

A number of women by expressing concern over low presence of women in election campaigns say this time the number of women is few in election campaigns, which shows that women are still facing with various challenges in Afghanistan.
Zarina Hamnawa, a woman working in a government institution, told The Kabul Times that unfortunately the number of women was few in election campaigns.
“The only reason that stops women candidates from election campaigns is insecurity and increasing violence against women in the country although women as men have been able to enhance their capabilities and take active role in the country’s development and reconstruction,” Hamnawa said, adding that unfortunately security problems as well as violence against women have caused that women are not interested in taking active part in election campaigns.
Nabila, another woman working in government’s judicial organ, says fortunately women’s presence in judicial organs is very good as women are now well-talented and capable, but unfortunately Afghan women have not been able to get their real position in society; therefore, those women who are candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections should be supported in election campaigns.
According to Independent Election Commission (IEC), from among 2,500 candidates of the upcoming parliamentary elections, 600 are women.
Chief director of the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) Yousuf Rashid has said insecurities, cultural and economic challenges have overshadowed the election campaigns of women candidates, asking the country’s security organs for further attention to life safety of the candidates during the election campaigns.
“Religious ulamas and all citizens should support women candidates during the election campaigns,” Rashid said, adding that ministry of interior should pay particular attention to security of women candidates as they do not have considerable budget to hire people for their security during election campaigns.
Meanwhile, a number of civil society organizations supporting women rights have also expressed concerns over low presence of women in election campaigns, considering that social and economic challenges have caused that women candidates could not take active part in the campaigns.
On the other hand, ministry of interior has deployed 54,000 police personnel for maintaining security of election processes and instructed them to make use of all means for security of parliamentary candidates in particular women candidates across the country.
The ministry has also asked parliamentary candidates to inform security organs prior to holding gatherings and election campaigns.
It is worth mentioning that insecurities are one of principal challenges ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections set to be held on October 20, but the country’s defense and security organs have assured the people of tight security during all election processes throughout the country.
Shukria Kohistani

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