Photo of Only-Male Politician’s Meeting with Ghani Goes Viral

People protested that no women were present after a photograph showing 12 male political leaders was posted by the Afghanistan presidential press office. The tweeted photo showed President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the National Reconciliation Council, at a high-level meeting on national security.

“Where are the women?” tweeted Ali Adili, a researcher for the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN).

Freshta Karim, an activist, wrote: “We are fighting a double fight; with the Taliban, but also with our own government. None of them [men] naturally feel obliged to include women in the decision-making. We are expecting the government to fight for our rights on the table with the Taliban, but how will they do this when they keep excluding us?”

“Where are the women leaders clapping & voting for these men? Where are the women that the USA wanted to liberate & empower? Where are the women who have been given rights to sit in the parliament symbolically just to be used and abused by the system? Where are the women???” wrote Shaira Karimi, a student of global politics and human rights.

This comes after Ghani assured the public that more women would be involved in important decisions-making roles. Women hold positions in only five of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces despite legislative gender-quotas ensuring that 27% (68 of 249) seats in the lower house be reserved for them. Very few women have been allowed to participate in the peace talks with Taliban.

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