The elections are coming, but Afghanistan has yet to offer a good strategy for helping women to participate in the elections and political issues. As we have witnessed in the past few years, the programs for women are symbolic.
But more than ever, Afghan women today can get their political and civil rights by themselves. The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan can work on equal rights and can change its policies to help women participate in the elections and other political issues.
Most women don’t fight for their rights, but if they don’t fight, no one else can get their rights for them.
One big problem is the photos of women on their voting cards. A lack of photos on cards was one of the biggest problems in the last election because families don’t like to allow people outside the family to see women’s pictures. Without a proper photo on the cards, voter abuse becomes a huge problem.
So, women must first get and use their rights but also must help the election process run correctly and transparently.
The voting age is now eighteen, but I believe it should be lowered to sixteen for everyone. If an Afghan girl can make decisions about her life and be married at the age of sixteen—a step that affects her whole life under the civil laws of Afghanistan—why can’t she vote on issues affecting her country for a five-year period?
Let’s struggle for our rights. We will get them and use them in the right way and at the right time.
By Rabia A.
Photo: Rafiq Maqbool/AP