On the occasion of the International Women’s Day (8 March), the EU diplomacy chief, Federica Mogherini, announced that the European Union would be helping to launch a number of new initiatives to support gender equality and Afghan women in leadership positions. She said that the last 13 years had been a time of change for Afghanistan as girls started to go to school and women started to go to vote and get elected. “We cannot afford losing all this. We have to continue improving Afghan lives and in particular the lives of Afghani women,” said Ms Mogherini and added that “We have to make sure that those girls at school today become the leaders of tomorrow. Afghanistan needs female leaders – judges, politicians, economists, opinion leaders; women to look up to.”
The EU thinks that female leaders are needed to address the legacy of discrimination against women to make sure that the country’s constitutional rights are respected and the value of women in society is recognized. The new programs supported by the EU should prepare a new generation of “Afghan women for leadership positions in the Afghanistan of tomorrow.” Therefore, the block will provide a number of trainings, exchange programs, and internships to young Afghan women. Moreover, Brussels also announced a new program worth €2.3 million for civil society aiming to strengthen the role of Afghan women in conflict prevention and peace-building.
In addition to these specific programs, the EU also supports a myriad of development programs with a gender focus. The EU is, for example, involved in the provision of health care to girls and women, in training of female police officers, and in schooling of future female prosecutors, judges, court managers, and legal aid providers. Moreover, Brussels is also running a specialized program that seeks to improve the quality of lives of marginalized women and children.