Afghan Women in Parliament, Yet Stifled

A new political party for women's rights will be on the ballot in Afghanistan in the next elections.

Yet the party, National Need, faces an uphill battle in a male-dominated society where religious fundamentalists and former warlords hold the power in Parliament, and snub their female peers, reports Inter Press Service.

In fact, a Human Rights Watch study that found three out of five members of the Afghan Parliament have a connection to warlords or war crimes.

Party leader Fatima Nazari, currently a member of Parliament, told IPS that the warlords-turned-legislators stifle female parliamentarians by ignoring them or not giving them a chance to speak.

However, the Afghan constitution mandates that women hold 25 percent of the Parliamentary seats -- a measure that so far has not guaranteed that women's voices are heard.

--Ronnie Lovler/Newsdesk.org

Sources:

"Afghanistan: Women Lawmakers Battle Warlords"
Inter Press Service, March 9, 2009

"Afghanistan: 'Jihadis suffocate our voices'"
Inter Press Service, March 9, 2009

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