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Feb 27, 2017
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Compiled by UNIFEM's Gender and Media Project in Kabul.
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  Afghanistan women visit Pakistan   Comment

Anis: High ranking delegation of Afghanistan women visit Pakistan
A high ranking delegation of women from Afghanistan, led by President Karzai’s spouse, Dr Zinat Karzai, left Kabul for the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, yesterday to take part in the international conference of the Asian and Oceanic countries’ first ladies.

The delegation has gone to Pakistan on an invitation from President Pervez Musharraf’s wife, Begum Zia Musharraf, and will take part in a conference called the Higher Council of Asian and Oceanic Countries’ First Ladies for the Development of Rural and Island-dwelling women.

At the conference, which begins today, the Afghanistan delegation will present a detailed report on the conditions of Afghan women and the achievements of the past two years, and Afghan women’s participation in the Emergency Loya Jirga and the Constitutional Loya Jirga and the forthcoming elections.

During the visit, Zinat Karzai is accompanied by the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Dr Habiba Sorabi, the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Qamar Wakili, Advisor to the Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Safia Sediqi, member of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Amena Afzali, the head of the Association of the Afghan Women Jurists, Suraya Paikan, Salima Qoreishi and Marzia Hobab. The two-day conference is attended by first ladies from 17 Asian and Oceanic countries. 

 Erada: Minister of Haj and Endowments opposes recent measures in Hirat
The Minister of Haj and Endowments has declared his opposition to recent measures by the Islamic Guidance Department in Hirat Province. Recently, the Department has been impounding pictures of movie stars and models, fashion catalogues, cosmetics carrying women’s pictures and films that are described as immoral. The public in Hirat are not in favour of such measures and consider them similar to the Taliban’s practices.

The Minister of Haj and Endowments, Mohammad Amin-Nasseryar, has said such arbitrary actions should not be allowed to demean the status of Islam and hurt the feelings of the public.

The Office for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice that was set up in the early years of the Mujahedin’s rule in Afghanistan was elevated to the level of a ministry by the Taliban who imposed their own interpretations of Islamic rules on the public.

Following the collapse of the Taliban, the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice was dissolved and replaced with the Department of Islamic Guidance, as part of the Ministry of Haj and Endowments. The Department never reached the same level of strictness that had been adopted by the Ministry under the Taliban.

The Ministry of Haj and Endowments and its departments across Afghanistan deal with issues related to the mosques and the Haj pilgrims. In Hirat, however, the conditions are different and the Director of the Department of Islamic Guidance considers its duty to enforce the same duties that the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice had under the Taliban. 

 Anis: Support for Ministry of Women’s Affairs’ Kindergarten
Free Afghanistan Association has provided the kindergarten at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs with a number of necessary items. The items include: carpet, television, video, washing machine, blanket, gas, cooking equipment and dozens more. Officials at the Ministry expressed their gratitude for the gifts. 

 Erada: Ladies’ taste and order in managing the household affairs would lead to men’s greater interest in house and household
The management of household affairs and the use of good taste at home has more to do with women than men, because in our country, apart from a small minority, most ladies are busy working at home and men in general perform their duties in various fields outside the home and in general try to find ways of enhancing the quality of their lives and spend whatever they earn by way of wages on the purchase of food, clothes, dishes, ornaments and other family necessities and expect to witness change and improvement in their lives.

To this end, whatever is ordered by the lady of the house is accepted by the husband, within the constraints of the family’s finances and even by taking out a loan. However, managing the affairs of the house, decorating the house, using taste, the style of the children’s clothing, observing hygiene, healthcare and correctly feeding the children and the lady herself all pertain to the lady, because her husband has performed his duties and procured what has been ordered, and it is up to the lady’s talent to decide when, how and in what manner to use them and to apply special taste while doing so.

It must be added that an intelligent and alert lady, making rational use of the facilities at her disposal, would not only organise the household affairs, but would also attract her husband’s attention, because when the husband notices that, thanks to the lady’s taste, order reigns in his house, from the courtyard to the sitting room, the kitchen, the bathroom and everywhere else, and his lady and children wear clean clothes and enjoy good health, and eat, study and sleep at certain specific times, he will know that all this is the result of his lady’s efforts, because he himself has spent most of his life outside the house to provide for the necessities of the household and his role inside the house is negligible compared to his wife’s, therefore his interest in and friendship and affection for his wife and household will increase and will lead to his making even greater efforts to improve his and his family’s life and to have heartfelt affection for and interest in his wife until the end of his life.

And it must be emphasised that affection and interest between the wife and the husband has a very important role in maintaining the fabric of the family because their offspring can only have a correct and healthy time as babies, children and adolescents in the light of friendship, affection and interest between the father and the mother. Similarly, the husband and the wife can enjoy their shared life only if sincerity and affection exist between them.

One must also briefly state the opposite case, that if, God forbid, the husband spends his time from dawn to dusk at the office or doing some hard work, ensuring that the expenditure is in accordance with the lady’s instructions, but his house is not subject to any order or taste, the hygiene and health of the children and lady are in a poor state, and any guests coming to visit them do not receive the required hospitality, the revenue and expenditure accounts of the household are unclear and all household affairs are in disarray, all of this will inevitably have an adverse effect on the children and especially on the lady’s husband, and even if he guides his wife, he will find her tasteless and disorderly and will conclude that all his efforts have resulted in nil and his interest in his home and his lady will decrease every day.

Now, what is to be done to resolve such problems and what responsibilities do the ladies have in this respect? First of all, it must be said that the husband and the wife should cooperate in the household chores and the husband should not consider himself a stranger to work inside the house. Unfortunately, however, conditions of life and work in our country are such that they have separated most men from cooperation with their wives, because most women are housewives and because of illiteracy and unfavourable employment conditions do not have any work outside the house and men in general are forced to meet the family expenditures all by themselves.

But it must be said that there are still men who in spite of their excessive work outside the house also cooperate in the household chores and they must not be overlooked. There are also women who cooperate with men in the affairs outside the house and they too must not be overlooked.

However, since the affairs inside the house are lady’s responsibility, the lady should not be negligent or careless in this respect. To be more blunt about this, most household affairs that could upset the husband and lead to his loss of interest in the wife and the home are not difficult or hard tasks beyond the lady’s physical strength and ability, but they have to do with the wife’s taste and cleanliness. Should the lady know how to keep the courtyard, the rooms, the food and her own and the children’s clothes clean, how to maintain the carpet, bedding, curtains and the rest of the furniture properly and how to entertain the quests and how to welcome her husband, no doubt her problems will over.

Otherwise, should she spend her time from dawn to dusk working like her husband and even harder than him, without order being observed in her household, she will not find the husband interested, because order, taste, beauty and cleanliness are not only pleasant to all, but are also captivating.

It is therefore necessary for the respectable ladies whose work suffers from such shortcomings to attempt to address them, and if they themselves do not know [how], they should look at their friends’ houses and learn.

Should they still face problems, they must ask their friends, because there’s no shame in asking, but it is a shame to be uninformed, untidy and tasteless. And it is also necessary for the literate and thoughtful ladies to guide and advise those sisters of theirs who face such problems. Most of all, it is up to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to endeavour in this field, using mobile family guidance teams and educational radio and television dramas. 

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