As we approach the peace negotiation with the Taliban and the appointment of men-and-women delegation to it, compromising women’s rights and achievements becomes more concerning. Some women’s rights activists in Kunduz claim that without considering women’s rights, peace is incomplete. Ms. Golestani said that, aside from security concerns, lack of job opportunities and lack of job security are among the issues that women expect to be addressed with the establishment of a peace deal. “The Head of Women’s Affairs is the only government post run by a woman which is symbolic. While a significant number of women in Kunduz are eligible to run Social Deputy of Kunduz, they cannot dare to run because of threats. Instead this office is held by a man for several years.”
CSHRN: How do you assess women’s presence in the governmental offices?
Golestani: When women are not in key decision-making positions having the same authority as men, it cannot be considered as their bold presence in the offices. Currently women just work for a living. She adds that since women’s rights is an important part of the peace negotiation with the Taliban, women in Kunduz urge the negotiators to ensure nothing remains ambiguous with regards to their rights and clarify all Taliban conditions. For instance, if the Taliban respect women’s right to education, the conditions for respecting their rights should be clarified as well.
CSHRN: What are the security problems for women, especially for employed women of Kunduz?
Golestani: Opposition presence during the nights, threatens both life and job of well-known working women. Therefore, they cannot live far from Kunduz Square. She adds lack of job security for women as another challenge and says that “Women face insecurity not just because of the existence of moral issues and physical harassment in their workplace, but gender discrimination and inequality can also be considered insecurity.”
Ms. Golestani believe that women are mostly hired because of international communities’ commitments to gender equality which if not persist the same number of job opportunities will not be provided for them.
CSHRN: How can we ensure women’s active socio-economic presence and fight gender discrimination?
Golestani: The president can ascertain determination in fighting against gender discrimination by issuing a decree to allocate key governmental positions to women.
Ms. Golestani believes that by providing conducive environment in various fields, there will be more job opportunities for them and liberation from economic dependence will be achieved which is one of the reasons for violence against them. She notes that without eradicating corruption for protecting women’s rights in the workplace, peace is futile. Peace is only achievable if, in addition to being protected from conflict and violence, women’s rights are not denied.