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Afghan women and their part in 2018 legislative election

 

October, 23, 2018

KABUL – Afghan women took active part in the 2018 parliamentary election in spite of dozens of threats, insecurity and other challenges they are facing with.

While the situation is not suitable for women with different violence against them are reported on daily basis, but they believe that only a woman can feel their concerns, according to experiences. So, women’s part is increasing in all social and political affairs.

Malalai Yaqoobi, a housewife living in the Police District 4 of Kabul, came out to vote for her favorite candidate on Saturday. “This time, I voted for a lady candidate, because I believe that only a woman can feel women’s pains and problems,” she said.

Women can at least decrease problems and challenges before them through the decision-making levels and can be useful for other women who are still unaware of their rights.

But the problems and challenges existing before women should not be ignored.

Shokoofa, another woman living in Karta-e-Naw neighborhood Police District 8, said she is uneducated and her husband showed her the photo of her favorite candidate to vote on the Election Day. “I didn’t vote in the previous election, but my husband stickered my ID card this time and asked me to vote for his candidate.”

Security threats and terrorist attacks hindered most of the people especially women to go to polls.

Maryam Janbaz, teacher at a private school said: “My father and brother went to our area’s mosque in the early morning to vote. Shortly after they left, we heard a loud boom and rushed to the mosque and found that a rocket had landed there. Everybody was trying to get information about their family members present there to vote. Fortunately, my father and brother were unhurt, but all were scared and nobody from my family and our neighborhood went to vote.”

Meanwhile, some ladies were complaining for technical problems and late opening of polling sites, blaming the Independent Election Commission for not only wasting their time, but causing them not to vote as well.

“I went out in the early morning to vote. I waited from 08:00am to 11:00am, but there were no electoral workers, and when they came and opened the site, the biometrics system was not working. They told us to go home and come back in the afternoon. I along with other ladies of my neighborhood came home and did not go back and waste our time,” said Nahid, another lady who live in the Police district 11.

However, officials in the election commission admitted technical problems during the voting day. They praised women’s part in the election, saying they played a constructive role to make their destiny.

Abdul Badie Sayyad, head of the commission, said Kabul, Herat, Daikondi and Nangarhar provinces had the highest turnout, while the lowest turnout was registered in the southern Uruzgan province.

He added that women’s part was significant in all the 32 provinces, where election was held. Election was not held in the provinces of Kandahar and Ghazni for security and some unknown reasons.

The highest turnout of women was in the northern province of Jawzjan with 53 per cent, and the lowest was in the southern Zabul with only nine per cent, according to Sayyad.

Women’s votes can be counted landmark for each candidate, but this is not clear that their how will their votes change their own destiny.

Reporting by: Beheshta Ayoubi

Editing by: Center for Protection of Afghan Women Journalists

 

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