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Since the ratification of the National Action Plan for Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA) in 2008, positive changes are most visible in the education and health sectors. Extensive efforts to raise community awareness about the need for and benefits of girls’ education, women’s reproductive health and hygiene, and women’s legal rights have been made. These efforts have proved effective in the sense that communities have improved understanding, recognition, and perceptions about women’s rights in society in many respects. This concludes a new study, done by APPRO (Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization).

         

Education

Girls’ enrolment in general education stood at 39 percent in 2012. Although female students continue to drop out more frequently than their male counterparts at the higher levels of education, more girls are now graduating 12th grade compared to previous years since 2001.

 

 

Healthcare

Similarly, more women deliver their children under the supervision of skilled birth attendants now, compared to the pre-2008 period. Families appear to have a better understanding of the value of, and appreciation for, permitting their female family members being cared for by professional health staff. 

   

Work

The most tangible progress in women’s access to  work is indicated by the increased presence of women in public  life. The demand for kindergartens and women’s representation in various professional associations has increased significantly. Despite this positive development, the absence of women in decision-making positions in various sectors remains a major obstacle to women’s proportional professional advancement.

In rural areas women report that communities are more accepting of women working outside the home, especially if they work in gender segregated environments such as girls’ high schools. Segregated work environment for women is viewed   by the males of their families as acceptable and economically beneficial to the household’s wellbeing. However, the ability of a woman to work in public depends heavily on the awareness and education levels of the other family members and the level of conservativeness of their communities.  

        

Justice

The justice sector appears to have experienced the least progress in terms of women’s presence in, and women benefiting from, the sector. Awareness-raising campaigns have proved fruitful in improving women’s knowledge about their legal rights and about whom to approach when in need of legal aid. However, little has changed in terms of women’s willingness and ability to exercise these rights. One important reason given for women not exercising their rights is the weak judiciary system staffed with unqualified, undereducated, and sometimes corrupt officials.  

 

 

Conclusion

The security situation has been deteriorating since 2006. Especially for women. A number of earlier gains for Afghan women have come increasingly under the threat of being rolled back. The steps taken to negotiate settlements with armed opposition groups carry the risk of further weakening the position of women. These developments add to the urgency for women-centered development programming in Afghanistan beyond 2014. 

This study was undertaken to examine and document the extent to which the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA) has been implemented since coming to effect in 2008. The findings from this assessment are intended to contribute to the provisions made to protect women’s rights in Afghanistan.

A number of earlier gains for Afghan women have come increasingly under the threat of being rolled back. The steps taken to negotiate settlements with armed opposition groups carry the risk of further weakening the position of women. These developments add to the urgency for women-centered development programming in Afghanistan beyond 2014. 

 

 

 

Recommendations to increase the access of women to education, to healthcare, to work and to justice :  

APPRO report :  Implementation of the National Action Plan for Women in Afghanistan : page 60 - 64       NAPWA Assessment - APPRO March 15-2014