Sunday, May 11, 2014

What went wrong?

When it comes to women's rights in Afghanistan, almost everyone has a viewpoint. One says, its all about NGOs, and getting money through donor projects, another says, women's rights is a political tool of the international community to continue engaging in Afghanistan. For someone, its just an empty slogan, for another its hatred for women's activists who haven't been able to change anything in their own lives so how can they change the lives of other women and the labels would never end when you start the discussion on women's rights in Afghanistan. 

Many of the critiques dismiss women's rights as a non existing phenomenon in Afghanistan and consider women's Islamic rights the only rights of a woman, even when the men and women of this country hardly know anything of those Islamic rights, but are the strict guardians of the term. Critiques also object women's rights because they think that women's activists don't believe in women's rights themselves, and they violate women's rights whenever they could, so do what you preach, according to many of them. 

I guess all of this criticism has a lot of water into it - and much of it is genuine but incomplete and one sided. If you challenge women's rights as an NGO project, the NGOs come forward claiming that they can't find volunteers so without salaries who would work. They also rightly claim that if there are no resources, how can they mobilize and support any other woman. Even from one side of Kabul to commute to other side, you need to have a car, a mobile phone etc to ensure communication and the financial abilities of women is limited so they need external funds to do anything small for women and for that they need projects and they need to approach the international donors because who has ever seen a women's rights project funded by the government in Afghanistan?