UN Radio just ran an interview transcript about women’s participation in the Afghan elections. They interviewed Sayeda Mojgan Mostafavi, who works with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs as a Technical and Policy Deputy. Two things I didn’t know – the Afghan government has set aside 30% of provincial seats for women, and UNIFEM has a special center for the support of female politicians. The center provides things like “taxi fare to a woman candidate in danger, which can mean the difference between life and death, or danger and a safe place.” That hurts just to think of, honestly. You’ve got to be awfully brave to be a woman politician in Afghanistan.

Ms. Mostafavi sounds hopeful but not optimistic about women’s participation in the upcoming election:

Still most of women are living under the poverty line, still there are lots of women who can’t read and write and this is a big challenge for them because when they are not literate, how can they participate in the good work and the good job of this country. I hope that we can see many, many good changes about the life of the women and I hope that the new president of this country has more effort towards the good life of women of this country.

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