Safi, Maryam, Class of 2013 – (Afghanistan)

Practicum Summary:

Increasing Women’s Participation in Afghan Elections

Maryam Safi’s research aims to discover the problems associated with women’s participation in Afghan elections and the ways to improve conditions preventing participation. Using qualitative and quantitative research methods, Safi presents the importance of women’s participation in the election, trends or challenges of women’s participation in the election, solutions for existing problems and the realities of upcoming elections. She conducted 100 questionnaires and interviewed 22 individuals, along with implementing 2 focus group discussions with representatives of people in the Afghan parliament, members of civil society organizations, government officials, members of political parties and community remembers in order to complete this research. From her research, Maryam concludes that the majority of people believe in the importance of women’s role in shaping a safe and secure future in Afghanistan, and that women’s participations in elections is essential. She also points out that threats of insecurity, Afghan culture, family issues, gender inequality, lack of electoral awareness, lack of access to polling centers are major trends hindering women’s participation in elections. She recommends that the government of Afghanistan, the international community, and local citizens should support women’s participation in elections and influence figures who represent Islam in the community such as religious leaders and scholars.