Provincial Council Chairperson, Maidan Wardak, Afghanistan
Why did you become politically active?
I became politically active because growing up I had noticed that even the most ambitious women around me considered politics and power a male domain and therefore stayed away from politics. I ran to become a provincial councilor to bring people’s voice to the decision-making tables. Among other issues my community is faced with, I wanted to pay particular attention to girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment.
Halima Askari is from Mamrak village of the central Behsud district in Maidan Wardak Province, Afghanistan. She is currently serving her second term as a provincial council member. Halima has a bachelor’s degree in law and political science from Kabul University. In her journey to becoming chairperson of a provincial council, she had to overcome many obstacles, including a lack of social trust in women’s capabilities, especially in a traditional and patriarchal society like Afghanistan. Although the Maidan Wardak province is – even by Afghanistan standards – a difficult context for women’s political engagement, her earlier role in the leadership of the Maidan Wardak Provincial Council as deputy chairperson was crucial in preparing fellow council members to elect her as chairperson. She decided to run for the chairperson position hoping that it would encourage more women to participate in public life.