Author: Thomas Valenti

Tom Valenti is an attorney, arbitrator, mediator, trainer and conflict resolution practitioner based in Chicago, IL, but offering services globally.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A WOMAN LAWYER IN KASHMIR?

Guest post by Ayshia Zahgeer*

Is it only our biological destiny to exist and then one fine day to not, that deserves depiction on our epitaphs, that don’t bear our names, most of the times? Born as someone’s daughter and die as someone’s wife.

What about our survival stories? Where must they be recorded?

Browbeaten and predictably spoken about, as many would like to believe, women and their survival stories in personal and professional space, bookended by culturally accepted norms, if reality is anything to go by, can never be browbeaten enough.

Law, as a profession for women, was and is not still considered as naturally suited to our abilities. Reasons bordering patriarchal protectionism myths , that women need to be “protected” from the rigors and dangers that the practice entails, and majorly for not being considered cerebrally capable, assuming , that aggression and tenacity is what this profession demands, and also simultaneously considering them contrary to a woman’s  virtues. Both notions misplaced and informed only by a false sense of entitlement.

Not considered a “dignified profession for women”, the discouragements a female law student faces, begin from passive suggestions in classrooms of law practice not meant for women, to the struggle of finding a safe place to start our careers. Once graduated and faced with a myriad difficulties and quandaries as to our next right step ahead, even if some of us decide to go against the tide and start with the practice gender biases and extreme patriarchal encounters run through our everyday professional experiences, and all this while we are looking for ways to navigate social and familial pressures to simply do our jobs.  Decision to practice law in Kashmir , is particularly met with scoff and scorn and at  this stage it is an equal response both the genders get , however what compounds this, is when such a desire is expressed by a female, these range from various suggestions bordering ridicule to friendly advices only meaning to demoralize you.

My brief experience of 2 years in the court so far, has comparably been smooth the one I often rave about to friends and relatives, I do not think I could have had it any other way. I always start on that note, whenever I sit to discuss about it, because I have personally never alluded to the alluring idea of ungratefulness. I loathe the very basis of looking at the negative side of any situation. When I say this, I am quickly but consciously reminded of my privilege of never having to worry about looking for a senior, because I knew I had to start practicing with my father, never worried about being rebuked, reprimanded, although I have had my share of it, never had to worry about having to manage a ride back home, or how much I make for a day, although I went days without making anything, and whether all the days slog is worth it. All of this and more does not qualify me to speak about the struggle part of this extremely stressful profession. However, the obviousness of discriminatory practices against women lawyers in the court exist within and beyond privileges. I worked hard and sat on the files for hours without sleep, but all of that is self-serving. It doesn’t take away from my easy start and only goes on to amplify one fact that if all women feel secure, safe and are remunerated proportionally for their hard work, than sky really is the only limit, but there is a reason we speak about the glass ceiling visible only to us, that weighs our wings down, and I think a conversation around it, against it in the legal profession is long overdue. 

Going back in time, say close to a decade or more, and presence of women lawyers in the courts in the valley was scanty in Srinagar, and almost nonexistent outside of it. However, today, we have more women choosing to practice law than ever before, and it is heartening, how most of them make it on their own and how far, with all the difficulties that mar their journey. One reason for increase in the numbers is also that fact that the number of female and male law graduates across India, have almost equaled over a decade, which should have ideally translate into more women coming into the practice and more climbing up the latter, i.e., designated as senior advocates, the reality however couldn’t be further from this.

To Begin with the task of finding a senior lawyer to work with, poses one of the biggest challenges and this is where I have known many female law graduates give up. The challenges are two fold, personal safety /comfort and professional growth. In addition, more often than not one becomes a casualty for the other. A handful only   are lucky to find both , thereafter everyday experiences often run counter to the ideas of a professional life one had harbored. Institutionally women are not unwelcome in the courts, and a lot of those who practice will vouch for the regard they often receive from the Judges and also well-meaning lawyers and clientele, but pervasively, there is constant othering. Not only do women lawyers have to work twice as hard to ‘prove’ their worth , but law practice , metaphorically as much as physically/mentally , is an over hurried profession , and by the time , various obstacles are overcome , one misses out on work and recognition.

Women lawyers working in Kashmir, particularly face stereotyping in the kind of briefs they get. Therefore, mostly they are entrusted with family matters, and rarely anything to do with other civil and criminal matters. This despite them being on an equal footing of merit and experience as that of their male counterparts, they will not be preferred for those matters, in the first place. Two factors that play a very important role in success of any lawyer are ‘networking and self-promotion’, and there is no way that any woman lawyer can afford to do both, without it costing her reputation. It is a tightrope walk to appear sturdy, and avert constant pontificating on character and reputation. We just cannot afford to ride roughshod.

Every single day, is a struggle in trying to find a balance between not being too assertive and strident, and not too soft and docile, in the former case, we are not well mannered and discourteous and in the latter under confident and do not have it to be successful. Going back in times, say close to a decade or so, women’s presence in the courts in the valley was few and far between, while some of them made their way up the ladder, at a time and in an environment determined to push them out of the cadre, some simply couldn’t find a harmonious balance between and work and life, and ultimately quit. (A study by the associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, showed that about a quarter of women do not return to work after childbirth)

Here I try to sum up various accounts narrated to me by women lawyers of their day-to-day experiences in the court. What makes up their perspective of being a woman lawyer and what does the idea of practicing law entail in personal and professional life. With most of them requesting a name change for the narration.

  1. Advocate Mysa (named changed)  has been in law practice for close to 2 years and mainly in the Srinagar Dist. court and High Court as well. She says ‘It’s hard for women in litigation as they have to face, lawyers, judges, clients most of who are male”  She also says because there are very few female senior lawyers, there isn’t much choice left other than to work with senior male lawyers and the experience isn’t always “pleasant”. From manipulation to having to face ire and discomfort. She believes to be able to feel safe and secure; you must know or have someone from your family work in the court.
  2. Advocate Barin (Name changed) has this to say ‘after completing law degree when a lady lawyers enters into the court she faces multitude of obstacles”. She enumerates such obstacles as work load, which is disproportional to what you get paid for with under or no appreciation from the senior, Dealing with mostly male clients and colleagues can be difficult and Workplace harassment. However, she highlights the positives of being a women lawyer as awareness of ones rights, sense of independence, exposure and assertiveness, and of being able to help to women in distress.
  3. Advocate Qurat-ul-ain, started her practice close to 5 years back and describes her experience as ‘having been through hell and heaven at the same time, worst part about the experience she believes is facing judgments and labels. However, she remained undeterred and did not let any discouragement dampen her spirits. She also there is a huge scope for women lawyers in Kashmir, and staying strong is the only way forward.
  4. Advocate Subreen Malik , ‘Good Women don’t choose law’, an oft-heard statement is an offshoot of patriarchy and Law profession is not immune from it” She joined the Bar in the year 2012, when she describes women’s presence in the court as “marginal”. She describes her early experience in the court as somewhat uncomfortable given constant glare we are under, she also highlights income disparity, of how male and female young lawyers are paid differently, and women lawyers made conscious of any equal treatment they might receive. Sometimes the burden of work and other responsibilities weigh down women and it tells upon their work. She practices independently today and has many women related cases registered with her and is often appalled at how there is no institution in place to address systemic oppression women face. She also runs an organization by the name ‘Mehram: Women’s cell Kashmir”, that works for women in distress.  
  5. Advocate Fatima (name changed) is not a First generation lawyer from her family. She comes from a known legal background. She opines ‘If one is focused on work, one gets respect and recognition’, She also goes on to say that as someone from a known legal background she started on her own, without letting her identity get in the way of her work. She believes apart from a few instances of over hearing, court staff comment on young female lawyers, she has not come across any other such instance. She says while still new in practice she got to hear questions like ‘Where is your senior? , While presenting her case and she did not think of it as a pointed question because of her gender. She says respecting every single individual in the court will in turn get one respect and support from all quarters. She however does add a note of caution and says this might not be true for all women advocates and they may not experience same helping atmosphere despite being brilliant at what they do.
  6. Advocate Zahra (Name changed)  as a young lawyer practicing in one of the district courts in North Kashmir ,  describes her journey of 2 years in law practice as good yet full of odds. The picture she paints is quite dismal and disappointing. She says that not only have less than 10 woman advocates been able to ‘survive’ in the district court where she practices. She also says she has faced constant threats of not “being allowed to practice’ by the members of bar, if she continued to speak against the lack of basic facilities such as proper washroom and sitting arrangements for woman advocates. She adds ‘library and chambers nowhere exist for lady advocates’, ‘Complaining would mean expulsion from the court’. She says ‘However there are some Hon’ble Judges and some senior members of the Bar , who guided and motivated me, and helped me through tough times”
  7. Advocate Sadia (Name changed)  started her law practice on a positive note in another district court in North Kashmir , However she speaks about constant judgments and scrutiny of character in court premises , and lays emphasis on the absence of ‘fair Wages’ , not paid proportionally to work and lack of basic facilities such as washroom, library and furniture for female lawyers. She speaks about an uncomfortable atmosphere at work. ‘We can’t walk, talk or work freely” .and that the atmosphere in the court is only representative of what women face in the society.
  8. Advocate Ulf at Jan, practice in District Court Anantanag, from her experience she says she been respected and her work acknowledged from well-meaning members of the Bar and clients. She says she has been appreciated and encouraged by Judges and some lawyers alike. However, that was not the case in the beginning and she did face mocking and was not taken seriously. She was successful in securing bail in one of the considerably difficult matter, while receiving appreciation from the presiding officer and some lawyers, she faced scrutiny and questioning from members of the bar and she also goes on to say that despite hard work, a woman will always face such problems.

Are the experiences of Young Kashmiri women lawyers practicing outside state any different?   

Speaking on this is Advocate Hafsa, who graduated from University of Kashmir and went on to practice in Delhi. While her decision of working outside was met with stigma back home. She says ‘working in Delhi as a lawyer is not easy the work culture in completely different in comparison to what we know or have seen growing up back home, this includes working crazy hours and getting paid peanuts, yet it didn’t crush my desire to excel in the field even though, I am a first generation lawyer from my family” She considers herself fortunate for having worked in the chamber of two most competent lawyers who never discriminated against her in any respect. However her unpleasant experiences mostly are either from the court premises of the Delhi High Court or other District Court, where she says her Hijab was met with uncomfortable glances and she  also had to face ‘terrorist jibes’ cast at her within court premises, Post Plame incident. She also recalls an incident of objectification, based on her skin colour. Therefore, she sums up “struggles for us working outside our twofold, constantly targeted for our identity as Kashmiri by the locals, and subjected to slander based on gender by our own”

Another Kashmiri lawyer Advocate Mariyah Mukhtar having briefly worked in Delhi expresses her satisfaction at the overall environment, work and otherwise. She believes her skills were honed by working under a very committed lawyer in Delhi, and that even in her brief experience she got an opportunity to present cases in the court. She believes other than ideological differences, positives of working in Delhi override the negative. She also speaks about being objectification, which according to her did cause her anxiety.

As is evident from varying accounts of women lawyers working across the valley and a few of them outside, there is a marked homogeneity in the pattern of struggles.

Our state given its unique Geo-political realities, a protracted conflict has had an adverse impact on various aspects of legal profession as well. While we have our share of concerns, some of which are spoken and some remain unspoken, in a profession that valorizes thick skin and sees courtesy as weaknesses, what must not be lost sight of, are hardworking, dedicated and feisty women lawyers who wear their resilience as their armor, spread across the lengths and breaths of valley. All of which also go on to show that we have some genuine allies across the gender divide.

 There shouldn’t really be a barometer of Gendered Presence in courts or for that matter any workplace, or for one gender having to rely on magnanimity of the other for safety, but unfortunately there still is, and because one gender’s presence in places of work, still needs to be discussed or even mentioned, the fact that there is an intuitive sense of insecurity and incidents of harassment, that are real and nor imagined, goes on to show that we are not yet geared to accommodate gender Diversity at places of work.   Few, but not enough people are willing to accept this reality.

Law practice is inherently demanding and stressful, and all of us happily and  willing pay that ‘mental tax, because we so dearly love our work and it doesn’t have to stop being that, we however need to reflect on normalizing one gender being permanently ‘othered’. Nothing other than merit and competence must be the indicators of any hierarchy at work.

Women’s presence in law courts presents a unique opportunity to correct the historic disequilibrium that exists in the representative character of our society.  A valve through which, while not compromising on  professional competency, rehumanization of what is today more  than ever before seen as an unresponsive institution, can be attained.

*Ayshia Zahgeer is a law graduate from university of Kashmir and practices in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.

Ayshia Zahgeer

Report on the Difficulties Faced by the Visually Impaired Students in the Evaluation Patterns Adopted by the National Law Universities

Guest post by Ananya Agrawal and Yathansh*

Ananya Agrawal and Yathansh co-authored a piece on challenges faced by Visually Impaired Students in National Law Universities in India, suggesting specific policy changes and reforms that promise to overhaul the overall experience in legal education.

Their paper, an empirical study, has been published in the prestigious Journal of Indian Law and Society Volume 10 (Special Issue), which focused on the theme of “Reforms in Legal Education in memory of Prof. NR Madhava Menon“.

Their report is dedicated to Prof. Madhava Menon, the father of modern legal education in India. Prof. Menon is the Founder Vice-Chancellor of National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata.

Read the full paper here: https://jils.co.in/wp-

*The authors were students of the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata, India and Associate Editors of the Journal of Indian Law and Society. Ananya is also the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Ex Curia International.

COVID-19 and Quarantine

CHADARI

Guest post by Hasina Ghafoori*

‘I know that if I am infected, I could infect more than one thousand people. Why, why are we not helping our health sector? Why don’t we care about our health, our family’s health and our society? These are the questions I want to ask all of those who are making excuses to break this lockdown.’

Read Hasina’s full story about how she spends her lockdown and what beneficial habits she has developed at chadariproject.com/2020/07/26/covid-19-and-quarantine/

#Chadari #ChadariCOVID19Story #ChadariProject #AfghanWomen

*Hasina Ghafoori is a 25 years old girl from Kabul. She graduated from literature faculty of Kabul university and currently working for Swedish Committee for Afghanistan as HR Officer.

US-IRAN TENSION AND ITS IMPACT ON INDIAN POLTICAL ECONOMY

Guest Post by Atifa Amiri*

The tension between the United States and Iran may seem to originate from the latter’s nuclear program but the root of the issue stems from the conflicting interests in the Middle-East. According to the national security of the United States of America in 2006, the major interests of the United States include:

• Providing security for the oil and gas supply.

• Maintaining Israel’s existence and qualitative military advantage.

• Eliminating threats from terrorist organizations.

However, the United States maintains broader interest in stabilizing the Middle East region. For example, the U.S claimed that its major goal is to promote democracy and economic liberalization in the region. Ironically, Iran is not under U.S. influence regarding its transportation, oil, and gas production.

The U.S. also claims that Iran is meddling with Iraqi Shia groups and preventing stabilization of Iraq, and that Iran is the greatest supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah in the region.

In summary, U.S policy towards Iran in the post-cold-war period is influenced by two factors: 1) Iran’s geopolitical importance made it even more significant for the United States to contain the USSR on its southern flank, and 2) Iran possessed rich Oil and gas resources.

In order to protect its homeland, the U.S. continues to leverage its resources and to ensure that Iran does not initiate the use of nuclear weapons.

Iran Interest

There is no doubt about Iran’s interest to spread its influence over a massive part of the Middle East.  Iran has invested and sacrificed significant amounts of blood and capitol to ensure that it is able to determine the course of events in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

To a lesser extent, it has sought to establish a beachhead in Yemen, and it has sought out links to groups in the Gaza Strip, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the region. 

If Iran perceives its revolution as pan-Islamic, as U.S. partners in the region certainly believe, then it might very well set its sights Beyond Damascus and Baghdad.

From this perspective, the conflict between Iran and its rivals is less a product of Iran’s expansionist goals as it is a classic security dilemma, intensified by ideological differences that render both sides more suspicious of the other’s intentions.

If this is the case, then a U.S. policy that seeks to simultaneously reassure Washington’s allies in the region, while also providing the Iranian regime with guarantees that its interests in the region would be respected, could lay the groundwork for less confrontational relationships.

Impact on Indian Political Economy

India has approached the situation with cautious optimism. India has historically pushed for peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue, emphasizing diplomacy and dialogue. India’s approach to Iran’s nuclear complication evolved from one of indifference and ambivalence to encouraging Iran to adhere to its Non-proliferations Treaty or./o (NPT) commitments; politically supporting the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency or (IAEA) enforcing the subsequent UN Security Council sanctions imposed, and strongly endorsing the U.S.-led P5+1 negotiations.

Therefore, India stopped short of negotiating with the U.S. and its European allies when they imposed unilateral sanctions, and New Delhi continued to work with Iran on other issues.

Moreover, New-Delhi was the second-largest supplier of Crude Oil before sanctions hit in 2012. The crippling nuclear sanctions levied by the United States in 2012 engineered a deep-seated transformation in Tehran’s calculations. 

New-Delhi has repeatedly voted in favor of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolutions against Iran on the ground that a nuclear Iran is not in India’s interests.

On the issues of energy relations, India claims that Iran is an important partner as well as an important source of hydrocarbon resources and that it is keen to further strengthen existing ties.

Iran was one of the largest suppliers of crude oil and, in return, India has supplied refined petroleum products for Iran. Therefore, the U.S. has been applying pressure against Indian companies that have energy relations with Iran.

The sanctions have led to a downturn economy in Iran, so they insisted the sanctions were illegal and had attached no credibility to the waivers.  

IPI is the most prominent or (India-Pakistan-Iran) gas pipeline project. Iran and Pakistan have announced that they will move forward with the project at a bilateral level for the time being.

Geopolitical Factors

India is trying to balance its relations between both countries. While increasing ties with the United States, India still ultimately seeks to progress toward an “equitable international order” and a “truly multipolar world, with India as one of the Poles.”

In this goal of ending Uni-polarity, India’s long-term plan with Iran is manifested in the relationship to Tehran with its clear preference for reducing the United States’ power in the region.

India’s growing ties with the United States help shape how Delhi approaches its interests in Iran as well as in the U.S. The U.S. and India share many interests in Central Asia. These include ties to Iran, and relatedly, hope for Afghanistan. India-Iran relations set up a key area of contention between New Delhi and Washington. This has caused Delhi to slow engagement with Tehran.

The 2001 Tehran and the 2003 Delhi Declaration further enhanced the relationship between the two countries, providing structure to economic Cooperation.

Indo-Iranian bonds faced pressure during negotiations for the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, which took place during 2005 and 2008. Therefore, the United States agreed to grant India full civil nuclear cooperation in exchange for separating its civil and military nuclear programs. For India, this meant economic advantages as well as a symbolic victory; India was recognized as a legitimate Nuclear power by the global hegemon.For America, the deal strengthened relations with one of the world’s major rising powers and acted as a counterweight to China.

However, during the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Iran in 2016, U.S. lawmakers questioned Delhi’s readiness to sign a formal security cooperation agreement with Washington.

The State Department Responded that the U.S. government had clearly conveyed its concerns and that Delhi had been “very responsive…to our briefings” and “to what we believe the Lines are.” The Chamber port was tolerated by Washington due to its role as a counterweight to China’s Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is considered superior in trade capacity for the Sistani-Baluchistan region.

United States’ Attitude Toward Indo-Iran ties

The United States’ attitude toward Indo-Iranian relations is also influenced by Israel’s interests.

Tel Aviv has significant concerns regarding Indo-Iranian ties. This is partly because Israel is one of India’s top arms suppliers. During 2003 and 2004, the United States and Israel encouraged India to minimize its relations with Iran in terms of defense, energy, and strategic relations With Iran.

During the Israeli President’s visit to India in 2016, the president clearly stated his concerns regarding India’s friendship with Iran. Israeli media felt the need to publish assurances by PM Modi that India would support to prevent Iranian attempts to harm the Jewish state.

 Israel’s concerns created further motives for the United States to convince India to reduce its Iran ties. Consequently, the Indian foreign minister condemned the incident. That means that Delhi follows its interests through ties with multiple powers, regardless of their animosity toward each other. No other major power could maintain amicable ties to all three states with animosity towards each other.

India shares interest in instability in Central Asia with Iran and an interest in fighting terrorism with all three countries. Delhi’s approach of walking both sides was also demonstrated when Bush and Singh administrations were attempting to convince the U.S. Congress to accept legislation in favor of the India-U.S. nuclear deal. Much of this occurred when the Iran nuclear crisis was deepening.

However, Washington politicians expected India to lean more toward U.S. positions on global affairs. As a result, there was increased U.S. scrutiny of India’s Iran relationship.

Former Indian Security officials were aware that the deal was framed to the American Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, while India and Iran maintain very different relations with Gulf countries. Continues[BL1]  to increase strategic ties with states such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Tehran’s relations with these states are at historic lows.

Similar to its strategy toward The United States, India has managed to increase ties independently with both Iranian and Saudi poles in the region. Over the last decade, India has expanded political engagement, security agreements, and defense cooperation with Gulf States. This has occurred on top of Delhi’s existing dependence on the Gulf for energy and remittances from labor exports. These priorities outweigh India’s economic interests in Iran.

Under the influence of its Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, Riyadh has elevated its rivalry with Tehran as a Defining Feature of its relations with other states. This has led to divisions within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), such as the blockade against Qatar.

Oil Trade between India and Iran from 2010-2017

Iran remains a key part of India’s objective to alleviate energy poverty, the key to the latter’s access to Iran’s surplus hydrocarbon reserves and opportunities for investment in upstream oil and gas exploration.

Iran was India’s second largest crude oil supplier after Saudi Arabia until 2010-11. In 2014-15,  India bought 11 MT and 10,95 MT from it. 

Overall, Iranian exports to India followed the trends in oil trade, peaking in 2012 ($13.3 billion) and dropping to a low in 2015 ($6.2 billion). These exports included fertilizers, organic and Inorganic chemicals, petroleum and its products, fertilizers, plastic, edible fruit and nuts, glass, pearls, and precious and semiprecious stones.

India is possibly one of the most energy-deficient of all rising powers. Iran is third-large rest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia, it supplied 18.4 million ton of crude oil during April 2017.

In 2006, India’s Crude oil imports from Iran sat at $4.35 billion, 10 percent of total crude oil Imports. In 2008, Iranian crude oil imports grew to $11.2 billion. Prior to sanctions, Iran was the second largest oil supplier to India.

However, after sanctions had been imposed, they dropped down to $3.7 billion in 2015. The U.N. and EU sanctions were lifted in January 2016 following the conclusion Of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

After this, an arrangement was reached between Delhi and Tehran to process India’s pending oil payments to Iran, unlocking $6.4 billion installed funds. India’s imports of crude oil from Iran in 2016 grew to $6.68 billion or 11 percent of total crude oil imports. In October 2016, Iran was India’s top supplier.

India’s approach to Iran’s nuclear imbroglio evolved from one of indifference to encouraging Iran to adhere to its NPT commitments; politically supporting the efforts of the IAEA; enforcing the subsequent UN Security Council sanctions imposed, and strongly endorsing the U.S.-led P5+1 negotiations.

However, India stopped well short of bandage with the U.S. and its European allies when they imposed unilateral sanctions, and New Delhi also continued to work with Iran on other issues in different fora.

Conclusions:

India and Iran have managed to foster a multifaceted relationship, anchored within a long history of cultural ties and affinity. For India, this relationship is governed by geopolitical and economic concern that utter the terms of bilateral ties, including energy trade, infrastructure development, and security cooperation.

Geopolitically, New-Delhi sees a strong relationship with Tehran as a significant gateway to Central Asia, a means to break a strategic encirclement by china and to minimize the influence of Pakistan and potential partnership in counter-terrorism. Despite of the sanctions both the countries were very successfully able to operationalize the chabahar port project which is connecting India, Iran and Afghanistan with further prospects of connectivity to Eurasia.

*Author: Atifa Amiri student of MA. Political science at Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI) University New-Delhi 


Afghanistan fails to accord human rights to women a Guest Post by Atifa Amiri

Basically, women’s rights are the most ethical concern that has a lot of history and is also ringed by historical moral theories.images

  • For example, Aristotle (384 B.C to 322 B.C) believed that women were fit only to be subject of men and they are born to be ruled in a constitutional sense, as citizens rule other citizens.
  • He also mentioned in his book “POLITICS”: the salve is wholly lacking the deliberative element, the female has it but it lacks authority.
  • But Kant (1724-1804) on his moral works clarifies that all citizen including the women have the rights and should be encouraged to attempt towards an active condition.

Women’s rights in Afghanistan

The implication of human rights, especially Women’s rights is more complicated in Afghanistan than any definition by the ancient Greek and German, philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche and many more.

Under the Taliban’s regime, women experience indescribably worse conditions and were deprived of their basic rights and had no access to any facilities for better development but, women were given only the most primary access to health care and medical. But even had not freedom of decisions-making and still somehow.

For example, the Burqa is, in fact, a cloth prison that incarcerates not only as a psychological, but also and physical burden on some Afghan women. It was forced by the Taliban, and is another violence that took freedom of choice from women in terms of their lifestyle.

Recognition of women’s rights should be birthrights and fundamental rights everywhere.  However, in Afghanistan,  addressing women’s rights is more challenging thanin the private sphere, because of the customs and the traditions that most of the people follow. In Afghanistan in a huge extent, women have been discriminated against and are struggling every day of their lives.

Challenges:

There are many challenges in addressing the issues of women’s rights in Afghanistan. The three decades of civil war ruined all sectors in Afghanistan which damaged the most but especially the schools and educations center ruined and burnt in different parts of the country.

Education:

  • Literacy, although literacy measures are very high between both males and females in Afghanistan but there are more challenges in women’s primary education. However, annually, in Afghanistan, millions and billions are being spent on the development projects and humanitarian aids and educations is one of them that has very slow growth rates.
  • Lack of proper schools in so many provinces of Afghanistan and the quality of contents and textbooks are opprobriously bad, lack of science lab supplies, regularity of teachers and so on these issues are something so general between both men and women but women are being force from family side to do not go to school which are the main issues.
  • In so many places in Afghanistan, still, women are not allowed to go outside. Many women empowerment projects have been donated by the western countries but have less results in outcomes.

Poverty:

  • Although the Afghan government provide a free educations for all but still due to poverty the poorer families are prefer their son’s educations to daughters.
  • Poverty caused the dismissal of women’s rights in terms of their educations also poverty is the root of all the problems. As Kofi Anan, seventh Secretary-General of United Nations, rightly said “extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere.
  • The best policy to address women’s rights must be employment opportunities and networks for social services that support healthy families like, housing support, health care center, and child care.

Violence:

Violence against women is recognized as a major handicap to health and social development. Although this is a common concern in many geographical settings,  especially in the areas with a classic patriarchy. Women are facing challenges rights from their and fights against society at every point in time.

Violence against women in Afghanistan is so challenging, violence by the husband that is both physical and emotional like hitting, cheating, and violence by mother-in-law and other in-laws family is mostly physical violence. This a significant problem among the Afghan women in Afghanistan and I think is directly linked to poverty and economical problem.

Physical violence is one of the clearest and most serious forms of violence against women in Afghanistan and is not only limited to the aforementioned ways.  There other kinds of violence as well that its root can be sought in the culture, traditions and cultural practices like insulting women through harsh and abusive language. However, to a small extent, the prevalence of domestic violence decreased along with the increasing proportions of women to educations.

Women are considered as homemakers:

The other challenge that hinders Afghan women is that  are bound to remain within the framework of their home and the societal pressure demotivated them even before starting their path and most of Afghan men believes that women made to rise children and give birth to children.

Child marriage:

Basically child marriage is the violation of child rights and has a great negative impact on the health, growth, educational opportunities and mental development of a child.  Through child marriage, both girls and boys are suffering  strongly.

However on 9th April 2017, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Ministry of Culture and Information launched a national action plan to annihilate early child marriage but, we could not get a serious result due to lack of implementation of the law is much more important than making the law. So human rights commission and ministry of women affairs must pay attention to the preventions of violence and implementations of the law.

So, in conclusion, the only solutions to get out from the current situation is educations and educated people.

A short commentary view on Afghan women situations   by Atifa Amiri, student of MA political science at JMI University New-Delhi.Picture1