AFGHANISTAN: Support Afghan Women

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Peace Processes

IMPORTANT talks are coming up where discussions about the peace of Afghanistan will take place.

Whilst much news on Afghanistan centres on the potential withdrawal of military troops, I would like to draw readers' attention to another aspect of the Afghan conflict - women's forgotten role in building peace.

Afghanistan is still one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a woman.

Eight-seven per cent of women report having experienced at least one form of violence.

Access to basic healthcare is minimal, and maternal mortality is among the highest in the world.

Despite this, women have made progress. More girls are in school; women have the right to vote and stand for office and are doing so in good numbers.

However, when it comes to the future of the country, women's voices are sidelined.

Foreign secretary William Hague must take to the upcoming peace talks a strong message from Afghan women and their supporters in the UK.

The message is simple - you can't build peace leaving half the people out. Women's involvement is crucial to ensuring a just and sustainable peace for all Afghans.

I am standing with Afghan women and CARE International UK, in making this demand to our government. Readers can join me by visiting and signing the petition.

Ms Margaret Nutter