A new decree from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani states that all of the country’s 34 provinces will appoint women as deputy governors.
Syed Shah Saqim, a spokesman for the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), said the appointment will start with the southeastern province of Logar, home province of the Afghan president.
Speaking to Radio Free Afghanistan on July 9, Saqim said the appointment of female deputies in all provinces has begun. “One of the women is set to be appointed as deputy governor today in Logar Province, and this will continue in other provinces, as well,” he said.
He added that “after being interviewed by the president, the female deputy governors will be selected and appointed based on merit and competence.”
Earlier, presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the cabinet had decided that women would be appointed deputy governor in every province.
According to information from the president’s office, the proposal to elect female deputy governors for all 34 provinces was initiated by the Women's Affairs Ministry and was approved by the cabinet earlier this week.
Vice President Amrullah Saleh also expressed support for including women in high-ranking government positions. In a recent tweet, he stated that “each province, as a MUST, will have a [female] deputy governor. This is part of our structural reform to further empower women.”
“This is a quota which has to be implemented in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan,” he continued. “It must be done soon. Even if a woman becomes a governor the quota still holds & applies.”
Women in Afghanistan have made substantial gains in employment, education, and legal protections since the fall of the hard-line Taliban regime nearly two decades ago. Their regime banned women’s employment and education.
However, Afghan women still face numerous challenges because of domestic abuse, discrimination, taboos, and violence.