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Image: Female parliamentarians from Afghanistan in Oslo 
 Photo: Sissel Henriksen
Photo: Sissel Henriksen

Female parliamentarians from Afghanistan in Oslo

The two female parliamentarians Azita Rafat and Sabrina Saqeb along with filmmaker Diane Saqeb visited Oslo in May.

Aktuelt/ Monday, 01 June 2009

The two female parliamentarians Azita Rafat and Sabrina Saqeb along with filmmaker Diane Saqeb visited Oslo from 27th till 30th of May. The Afghan guests showed a documentary film titled ‘25 percent’, which deals with female parliamentarians. They also discussed how it is to be a female politician in today's Afghanistan.

The film ‘25 percent’ is a documentary about female MPs in Afghanistan and is made by filmmaker Diane Saqeb. The title refers to the Afghan constitution, which ensures 25 percent representation for women in the parliament. The film is sheds life on 6 female parliamentarians and the problems they encounter in their everyday lives. We follow the women on visits to poor villages in the provinces and in their daily lives. The film also contains very interesting sequences from the internal discussions in parliament, where one gets an insight into the rhetoric that is used by their male colleagues in the parliament against the proposals which these female parliamentarians come up with.

Female parliamentarians’ popularity in Afghanistan

According to Sabrina Saqeb, female parliamentarians in Afghanistan are more concerned about their local districts and the problems faced by the people there. They have tried to improve things in the villages where people are really poor and it is very difficult to access those villages. Their efforts to reach out to remote and deprived areas have made them very popular with the local population.

Democracy works

Sabrina Saqeb also emphasized that it is useless to fight. As a member of the Committee for Women's and human rights in Parliament she enthusiastically takes part in heated and passionate discussions which some times end up in disagreement as well, but she maintains that democracy works. Several draft law has been changed for the better with the help of female parliamentarians.

Need for solidarity and support


Azita Rafat wants to learn from the experience of Norway as it has been a leader when it comes to gender equality. Quota of 25 percent women in parliament has helped, but the female parliamentarians are facing increasing resistance from male colleagues.

The guest sought support for the female parliamentarians in Afghanistan, so they could have more opportunities to help women and children in Afghanistan. They put strong emphasis on enhancing education among women, to take more actions to reduce child mortality and to take steps which could ensure  that women are part of the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Norwegian Afghanistan Committee
Addresse:  Nawai Watt, Street # 03 •  Postal addresse:
work # 148 Shahr-i-Naw, KabulAfghanistan

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