Despite their electoral success, the 68 women who sit in Afghanistan’s lower house of the National Assembly, or Wolesi Jirga, face restrictive social pressures and occasional violent intimidation along their path to equality.
To increase their influence in political decision-making, the women sought NDI's help in forming the country’s first multi-partisan women’s caucus. Recognizing that Afghanistan’s newly democratic political culture is an opportunity for women’s participation in public life, members of this new parliamentary group are working with NDI to strengthen their skills as legislators and representatives.
“I met with 10 female legislators - they’re more animated and excited about their country than any of the men,” says Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, who asked NDI to arrange the meeting during a recent visit to Afghanistan. “When they form a women’s caucus, a process that has started with encouragement from NDI, they will become a powerful force for progress.”
At the moment, the women are drafting the caucus’ bylaws and debating a formal name; once this is accomplished, the legislators will formally launch the new women’s parliamentary group.
Since 2003, NDI has worked with Afghan women political leaders, civic activists and candidates to increase women’s political participation.
Published on May 9, 2006