From Rhetoric to Reality: Afghan Women on the Agenda for Peace

Masuda Sultan | February 2005

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The Emergency Loya Jirga in Afghanistan in June 2002 began an advance in women’s rights. The new constitution adopted in December 2003 affirmed that women are equal to men; it also allocates 25 percent of seats in the lower house of parliament to women. The creation of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA) marked a symbolic turning point for Afghan women, but the organization has yet to fulfill its promise.

This publication provides an overview of women’s initiatives and activities in Afghanistan and examines the effectiveness of the international community’s decision to emphasize women’s rights and participation in advancing the status and role of women in Afghanistan. It makes the case that because women can foster stability and be a force for moderation, women’s capacity must be further strengthened and their rights must not be bargained away.

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