Afghanistan National Parliament to Establish Resource Centre to Promote Women’s Role in Decision-making Processes

Date: Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Afghanistan Swears in New Parliamentarians
Women parliamentarians of the Afghan Lower House arrive at their inauguration ceremony on 26 January 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan's second parliamentary inauguration since 2001. At present, women make up 69 of the 249 members in the Lower House and 28 of the 102 members in the Upper House of the country.

Women represent almost 28 percent of Afghanistan's National Parliament, 9 percent higher than the world's average of women in parliament.

To further the participation of women in decision-making processes, the Afghanistan National Parliament has committed to establishing a resource centre for women parliamentarians on its premises this month in Kabul with support from UN Women.

The Resource Centre for Women Parliamentarians (RCWP) aims to enhance the capacity, technical and institutional knowledge, and public communication skills of elected women officials so that they are better prepared to include women's voices and perspectives effectively in national development and reconstruction plans for their country.

The establishment of the centre within the Parliament's premises is based on a similar resource centre established by UN Women (at the time UNIFEM) in 2006 in Shar-e-Naw, a suburb in Kabul. The shift in location on site will provide more convenient access to women political leaders.

“Women's role in peace, development and decision making is key to the overall progress and development of the nation, said Mr. Syed Sadiq, Officer-in-Charge for UN Women in Afghanistan. “The achievements made on gender equality over the last decade should be further pursued, sustained and promoted.

The new centre will come equipped with a computer lab, library and meeting spaces. In partnership with the parliament and civil society, UN Women will support the centre by facilitating access to knowledge-building tools on legislations as well as coordinating interactive and briefing sessions. A Gender Advisor will also be made available on site.

The centre is expected to start its operations in August, but set to officially inaugurate next month.

UN Women initiatives to promote women's role in politics in Afghanistan are being implemented with support from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Turkey and Canada.