Politics in Afghanistan has always been tense, especially for women. Afghanistan was last in 156th place in the 2021 Global Gender Gap report. Earlier this year, Hosna Jalil, one of the highest-ranking women to ever serve in the Ministry of the Interior, resigned from her position. to join the Department of Women as a deputy.
Jalil, 29, said in an online chat: “I was fired because I was a loud speaker. “I am no longer the woman they have; I’m not there to make anyone happy… I fought, I chose my good fight and fought to the end. “
It is not that easy. The minister she works under has questioned her work ethic since his first week at office. Jalil says she was ruined based on her gender, youth and ethnicity. One minister accused her of receiving salaries from funding agencies and trying to replace her because she did not come from a particular ethnicity.
As deputy policy and strategy minister at the Ministry of the Interior, her work includes reforming the police and improving women’s participation in the police force and empowerment. She worked on institutional development and provided timely and quality services to the Afghan National Police.
Jalil’s work and vision as a woman in a senior security position also made her a target of harassment for her colleagues. During her time at the Home Office, she received emails from subordinate staff calling her a “prostitute”. Verbal harassment included accusing her of “exchanging sexual favors for a position”.
“The only thing that makes me happy about this is that it makes me believe that technically they can’t attack me, so they attack me personally,” Jalil said.
A learn The Parliamentary Union showed that psychological violence, including sexist remarks, affected 81.8% of female parliamentarians globally. One in four people experience physical abuse. Although Jalil is fortunate to start in a position of authority to prevent all physical and sexual violence, she worries that such acts of violence and harassment are not uncommon for Afghan women. in public agencies, based on their experience of listening to women in the police force.
She criticized widespread discrimination in the public sector, ranging from access to resources to ordering a woman of power. “When they can’t take your power off you, they’ll take your responsibility, and you end up becoming an iconic person,” she said.
“Sometimes it’s hard to keep motivating me every morning. Working long hours, being ignored, harassed and receiving statements that can attack someone’s personality, can attack someone’s morals, usually by someone who feels empowered in the position. their. “
Now vice minister for policy and planning in the Department of Women, she intends to challenge these standards. Jalil believes the ministry is not as strong as it should have been in the past 19 years. In her new role, she plans to strengthen women’s roles in peace and security, ensure women have equal access to services and resources, and empower and engage women in all both fields.
Another major obstacle is the increased violence on the streets. Despite the Taliban’s pledges to reduce violence as part of the peace process, there have been a series of assassinations across the county. Activists, journalists, doctors, judges and experts are increasingly targeted and killed – even more if they were women.
Jalil has also received death threats from the Taliban; they have become routine for the young minister and her female colleagues. “I strongly believe that the day I was supposed to die was my destiny. I’m not careless, but I don’t want to give up when threatened, ”she said.
“Our women have become resilient. Now that’s normal because around the peace negotiations and as we get closer to the peace process, it makes us more vulnerable. When we are not ready to compromise, the pressure goes up. One of the pressures is attacks ”.
While peace talks between the Afghan and Taliban governments continue and the US administration is expected to hastily retreat in May, the question of the fate of Afghan women’s rights remains unanswered.
“The Afghan government has set women’s and children’s rights as red boundaries for the negotiation, but I still believe that women’s rights, children’s rights, and youth rights are in a very vulnerable group,” said Jalil. in negotiations. “It’s one of those baskets that can be dropped easily.”
She added that the peace process not only happened quickly, but there were so many “turning back” of stakeholders that made it difficult to predict anything. Jalil raised concerns about a lack of clarity on the part of the Taliban in the ongoing negotiations.
“I am a Muslim and I like to live by the Islamic classics, but [at the] In the end, my definition of Islam and the Taliban’s definition of Islam differ greatly, ”she said. “We have the same framework [Islamic values] but the picture inside is missing. The structure they want for women is lacking ”.
Citing a verse from the Quran, Jalil emphasizes that although education is compulsory for women and men in the holy book, women have little access to education under Taliban rule. The Taliban regime in power from 1996 to 2001 famously denied access to women’s education and employment, restricted their freedom of movement, and subjected them to overt violence such as spanking and torture. decided by stoning.
After the overthrow of the Taliban, Afghan women have taken steps towards equality and averting the damage of nearly 40 years of war. Backed by quotas, the Afghan Congress has about the same percentage of women legislators as the US Congress; 40% of students in Afghanistan are girls; and gender equality is inscribed in the Afghan constitution.
However, the fear of losing the fragile benefits of women remains. The Taliban claim that their views on women’s education have evolved since the 1990s but there is a “gap between Taliban’s official claims of rights and restricted positions approved by Taliban officials on the ground, ”according to Human Rights Watch.
Representation is another important issue. While women in Afghanistan are often disproportionately affected by decades of war, they are still largely absent in peace talks. Only four of the 21 members of the negotiating group originally designated from the Afghan government were women. Their numbers are decreasing with each round of talks, from four people at the Doha talks to just one Afghan women negotiator at the latest talks in Moscow. The Taliban, which controls about 30% of Afghanistan, have no female representation in the peace talks.
Hosna Jalil just turned 29 on March 27. In the end, the young female minister said she was not afraid of what’s to come. She thanks the challenges she has gone through – from everyday threats to her life and harassment at work to illness and a time close to ITP (hypo-urinary purpura). spontaneous demand) – for making her stronger.
“These discerning men match Western-trained, American-trained men, I don’t find a difference between them and the lords. I want them to understand that if they do something wrong, someone will talk about it, she won’t let it get buried, ”said Jalil.
“This is my responsibility to the next generation. I have to go through this so my next generation won’t have to go through all of these problems. There must be an end. “