European Union and Empowerment of Women in Afghanistan: Issues and Challenges
- The Status of Women in Afghanistan: General Overview
- Obstacles to Empowerment of Women in Afghanistan
- The European Engagement
- Specific Objectives and Priority Areas
- Challenges and Way Forward
Empowerment of Afghan women has been one of the fundamental concerns of the national and international community engaged in the process of reconstruction and development. Equal participation and commitment on part of both men and women is required for rebuilding and sustainable development of Afghanistan today. This paper attempts to argue that what is meant by empowerment of women has to be understood in specific socio-economic, political milieu of contemporary Afghanistan. The first section of this paper gives a sketch of situation of women in the country and what are their obstacles to empowerment. The second section deals with the European Union’s engagement in terms of the scale of humanitarian assistance provided for the process of reconstruction. The final section discusses the challenges in achieving these goals. This paper attempts to establish two arguments: empowerment is a contested concept and its meaning, nature, and content are context-specific; it will be incomplete without an active and equal participation of men.
Afghanistan is a patriarchal society, with majority of people following Islam. The status of women has traditionally been subordinate to men.1 The role of women deteriorated under the Taliban rule. The They were denied basic rights and faced a crisis that threatened their very existence. Some of the restrictions that Taliban had placed upon women were:
Complete ban on women working outside their homes, including teachers, doctors and engineers.
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