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Ministry of Health

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Ministry of Health

    WOMEN IN THE AFGHAN

    CIVIL SERVICE:

    UNDERVALUED&

    UNDERUSED?

Ministerial perspectives on women and

    employment

    January 2006

    A research project by medica mondiale

    published with the support of The Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Gender

    Mainstreaming Project - German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)

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    CONTENTS

    Acknowledgements…………………………………………………………..3

    Summary………………………………………………………………………….4

    Definition and principles of Gender Mainstreaming………………6

    Gender Mainstreaming Project An Introduction…………………6 German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)

    About medica mondiale Afghanistan…………………………………6

    Research methodology………………………………………………………8

    Research Findings……………………………………………………………..9

    Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)……………………………………………….9 Ministry of Economy, (MoE)………………………………………………..10 Ministry of Education, (MoEd)…………………………………………….11 Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA)……………………………………….12 Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MoICT)……………13 Ministry of Interior (Mol)……………………………………………………..13 Ministry of Justice (MoJ)…………………………………………………….14 Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA)…………………………15 Ministry of Public Health (MoPH)………………………………………….16 Ministry of Religious Affairs and Pilgrimage (MHajj)……………….17 Ministry of Rural Development and Rehabilitation (MRRD)………17 Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT)…………………………………18 Ministry of Tribal and Border Affairs (MoTFA)………………………..19 Ministry of Vocational and Higher Education (MoVHE)……………20 Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA)………………………………………20

    Conclusions………………………………………………………………………..21 Recommendations……………………………………………………………….22 References………………………………………………………………………….23

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Acknowledgements

medica mondiale and GTZ would like to thank Sajia Begham for the research on this

    report. Sajia is the local Coordinator, Women’s Rights and Political Lobby Program. She

    is a well known activist on the rights of women and youth. She has been working with

    medica since September 2003.

medica mondiale thanks the Gender Mainstreaming Project - GTZ for its financial

    support to this research project.

We would also like to thank Najila and Zuhra, the translators who have worked on this

    project and who have contributed to making the report comprehensible; the Director,

    medica mondiale, Cologne for her comments and to Tonita Murray, Police Advisor,

    Ministry of Interior (funded by CIDA).

Ancil Adrian-Paul now works on the Women’s Rights and Political Lobby program. She

    has been responsible for editing the English version of the report.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge all those other individuals and organizations that

    have contributed to this report, many of whose names, for different reasons - cannot be

    listed.

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1. Executive Summary

Afghanistan has seen over 20 years of conflict. During this period, women have suffered

    massively most appallingly during the period of the infamous Taliban regime when

    women were prohibited from accessing learning, experienced restricted mobility and

    were prevented from working. The effects of these years have resulted in women whose

    skills are underused and undervalued, who despite strong paper qualifications and

    learned resourcefulness are unable to access the higher echelons of power.

The Bonn Agreement obliged the Afghan government to consider the needs of women

    as a means of contributing to sustainable peace and reconciliation. Following the Bonn

    Agreement, President Karzai issued a Presidential statement in support and the Ministry

    of Women’s Affairs was established in 2003. Article 22 of the Afghan Constitution (2004)

    formalized Afghanistan’s commitment to the advancement of women and to gender

    equality as a whole. Moreover, Afghanistan has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which necessitates an end to gender inequality a goal echoed by the seminal United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

    The issue of gender and specifically women is also addressed in the National Development Framework (NDF) where it highlights gender as a critical issue and clearly

    states that specific programs must be developed for women and girls programs that enhance their capabilities programs that integrally consider the needs of women and

    girls and that do not include it as an after thought. Gender is also a priority in the Afghan

    National Development Strategy (ANDS) that is currently being finalized.

    Additionally, the NDF highlights the role of women in the Afghan Civil Service referring to the key role that women must play in rebuilding the civil service. It states the total exclusion of women for the past several years also means that the concerns of women

    are less likely to be promoted or protected [thus] the presence of women in the civil

    service, at all levels including the top will be a critical influence in making progress

    towards the international human rights standards to which we have made a

    1commitment.

This commitment to women and to gender equality is also highlighted in the

    AFGHANISTAN Millennium Development Goals Report (2005) where it states, ``that by allocating 25 percent of the seats in the lower house of the national Assembly to

    women, Afghanistan has taken steps to bring about gender parity in the formal

    representation of women in decision-making… this needs to be followed by similar steps 2toward the effective participation of women.``

    In order to make this commitment a practical and concrete reality the Afghan government needs to develop policies and programs that specifically include women.

    The government needs a strategy that allows for the effective recruitment, training and

    retention of women in jobs that allow them to develop and expand their talents and skills

    and that allows for promotion in line with their male counterparts. Thus, while the Bonn

     1 National Development Framework, pg.11 2 AFGHANISTAN’s Millennium Development Goals Report 2005 – Vision 2020 Summary Report

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Agreement obliges the Afghan government to establish a transformed and modernized

    regime with an independent civil service commission, the reforms must be conducted

    with sensitivity and care for women and their employment needs. It should not negatively thimpact on women, many of whom have only had schooling up to 12 Class or less.

    This research paper was commissioned to ascertain how ministries view women in the

    civil service and to raise awareness of the effects of the current reform of the civil service

    on women. Among the recommendations made by this research paper is that the Afghan

    government demonstrate that gender is a priority by ensuring that:

    - The Independent Administration Reform and Civil service Commission (IARCSC)

    include women in all its departments Appointment and Appeals, Civil Service

    Management Department and the Administrative Reform Department.

    - All Ministries should allocate at least 30 percent of their forthcoming budget for

    the recruitment, training and retention of female staff.

    - The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs discharge its responsibility by ensuring

    that female staff members being considered for redundancy, are offered a

    support package including further training, help in finding a suitable job in the civil

    service and that if retrenched, these women will receive 6 months or more of

    severance pay.

The paper will be disseminated to all ministries as well as to donors, non-governmental

    organizations and to other relevant actors.

2. Gender Mainstreaming

    Box 1 Definitions

Mainstreaming a gender perspective is the process of assessing the implications for women and

    men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programs in any area and at all levels.

    It is a strategy for making the concerns and experiences of women as well as of men - an integral

    part of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs in all

    political, economic and societal spheres - so that women and men benefit equally and inequality

    is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal of mainstreaming is to achieve gender equality.

     United Nations Economic and Social Council - July 1977

2.1 Gender mainstreaming How it works

Mainstreaming includes gender-specific activities and affirmative action, whenever

    women or men are in a particularly disadvantageous position. Gender-specific

    interventions can target women exclusively, men and women together, or only men, to

    enable them to participate in and benefit equally from development efforts. These are

    necessary temporary measures designed to combat the direct and indirect

    consequences of past discrimination.

Mainstreaming is not about adding a woman's component or even a gender equality

    component into an existing activity. It goes beyond increasing women's participation - it means bringing the experience, knowledge, and interests of women and men to bear on

    the development agenda. It may entail identifying the need for changes in that agenda. It

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may require changes in goals, strategies, and actions so that both women and men can

    influence, participate in, and benefit from development processes. The goal of

    mainstreaming gender equality is thus the transformation of unequal social and

    institutional structures into equal and just structures for both men and women.

2.2 Basic Principles of Gender Mainstreaming

    ? Responsibility for implementing the mainstreaming strategy is system-wide

    and rests at the highest levels within government agencies.

    ? Adequate accountability mechanisms for monitoring progress need to be

    established.

    ?

    The initial identification of issues and problems across all area(s) of

    activity should be such that gender differences and disparities can be

    diagnosed.

    ?

    Assumptions that issues or problems are neutral from a gender-equality

    perspective should never be made.

    ?

    Gender analysis should always be conducted before developing and

    implementing programs.

    3. Gender Mainstreaming project An Introduction German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)

GTZ - Gender Mainstreaming project was established after extensive consultation

    between the Afghan and German Governments. Its key purpose is to help ensure that

    women’s needs and concerns are taken into account in all areas of Government –

    including policies, budgets and programs. A crucial area of our concern is female staff in

    ministries, who represent a largely untapped resource, that struggle on largely unnoticed,

    and that are often unappreciated both at work and at home. Without their active

    participation in Government - the needs of women - half of the population cannot be

    adequately addressed.

We are therefore, very happy to support the research and ensuing report - initiated and

    undertaken by medica mondiale. We are also very happy that the Ministries gave it their

    full support, including the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. All Ministries claimed to support

    female staff. It is interesting to note the omissions as well as the inclusions: few if any

    senior Government officials interviewed refer to the restructuring process currently taking

    place, several informants left out crucial information regarding programs. No informants

    referred to the Gender Focal points in their Ministries. GTZ hopes, that as a result of this

    research, Ministries will take into consideration more their work place environments and 3undertake specific planning in order to make them more women friendly.

     3 . International Labour Organisation. Pg.1

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4. About medica mondiale Afghanistan

medica mondiale, is an international non-governmental organization working on the

    medical, psychosocial and legal aspects of violence against women in Afghanistan since

    2002. medica has 5 components to its work that provides direct services including

    training to women at risk and those that are traumatized. We have a legal aid

    department, a qualified personnel program, support to women and girls at risk in shelters,

    a doctors assistance program to Afghan hospitals, and a women’s rights and lobby

    program. These components and the services that are provided are further elaborated

    in the table below:

Table 1 Services provided by medica mondiale in Afghanistan

1. Legal Aid Fund Department (Kabul, Herat Training to defense lawyers; legal assessment

    and Kandahar) and representation of women, mediation for

    women released from prisons and follow-up for

    such women and girls 2. Qualification Project (Kabul Herat ) Counseling to traumatized women in individual

    as well as group sessions, counseling to

    women and girls in prisons, target districts and

    in the women’s garden. Capacity-building to

    psychologists, other social workers and health

    professionals on trauma work and how to

    utilize a trauma and gender sensitive approach 3. Support to shelters housing women and girls Capacity-building of representatives of key

    at risk (Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat and Kabul) institutions that provide direct services to

    women and girls at risk (Ministry of Women

    Affairs MOWA, DOWA), the police,

    community and grassroots structures among

    others.

    4. Doctorane Omid (Kabul, Herat) German exiled Afghan doctors provide a

    service to medical personnel in Afghan

    hospitals using a gender based and trauma

    sensitive approach. Doctors spend between 1-

    3 months in selected hospitals 5. Women’s Rights and Lobby Program Cross-cuts all other components identifying

    and highlighting issues emerging from

    medica’s other projects. Raises awareness on

    key issues relating to violence against women

    through qualitative and quantitative research,

    advocacy and lobbying and the provision of

    training on international human rights

    legislation for the protection of women and girls

    to selected government structures, district and

    community structures (including mullahs) family

    structures and local NGOs when requested.

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    5. Research justification

medica mondiale is concerned with women’s rights. In all its programs in Afghanistan

    whether legal, psycho-social or advocacy related, female clients stress how important

    work and income is to them and their families. Therefore in late 2004 when medica was

    informed that the Afghan government - the major employer of women (it employs at least

    38,000 women country wide) was being restructured and reorganized, medica was

    concerned. Many of the most educated women are quickly snapped up by the

    international organizations including the United Nations (UN) but there are still many women who choose to - or whose families’ demand that they stay in Government service.

medica mondiale decided to investigate to find out what kind of employment these

    women have, to see how Ministries support them and to evaluate what the Government

    has been able to do - not just for its staff - but also for its clients. Without well qualified,

    supported and motivated female staff, what are the chances of government services that

    effectively serve women? Afghanistan is after all, a country where, due to culture most

    women cannot be seen by a male doctor, many women are not allowed to work with

    men and where girls and boys are largely taught separately.

6. Research methodology

medica mondiale decided that, rather than conduct secondary desk research and

    analysis of available texts in English - conducted by the World Bank, UN agencies or

    international NGOs - it would be more effective to directly interview those responsible for

    these Ministries. Would the respondents be able talk to medica mondiale about the

    ministerial restructuring and what it really means for women? Could they outline the

    policies and priorities outlined by the Afghan National Development Strategy (ANDS)

    website?

The methodology employed included bi-lateral interviews with 15 Ministers, their

    Deputies, Heads of Departments or their designated spokespersons. The research is

    thus a representative sampling of all Ministries in Afghanistan. Three of the Ministries

    were unable to respond in a face to face meeting but sent us information by letter which

    had been discussed with the responsible Minister.

A questionnaire was developed with questions on policy, programs, staffing, and number

    of women in high level decision making positions and on training for female staff. During

    a period of four months - from April to July 2005 medica mondiale’s local coordinator

    (Women’s Rights and Political Lobby program), spent many hours in discussion with

    these Government representatives. After elaborating the context of the questions, the

    interviewer elicited from the respondents the information required in the questionnaire.

    Using this methodology, medica mondiale’s interviewer was able to engender some

    reflection on the impact of reforms and policy development - including Priority Reform

    and Restructuring (PRR) set up to reform the Afghan Civil Service, the ANDS that will

    encompass government policies and priorities on women and the Poverty Reduction

    Strategy Paper (PRSP) that will outline for the World Bank a survey of actions to ensure

    pro-poor growth.

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A draft report was developed and was then discussed with key informants from the

    Ministries and from the Civil Service Commission.

Our findings indicate that most Ministers or their representatives do not have easily

    available data regarding the recruitment, training and retention of female staff and that

    their analysis is brief. The exceptions to this are the Ministries of Education and Higher

    Education and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism - all of which provided

    detailed gender disaggregated statistics.

Most Ministries highlighted the problems they face in recruiting and retaining female staff.

    These difficulties include - low salary levels and incomplete education for a variety of

    reasons - others centre on women’s lack of confidence in the workplace - due to years

    spent at home during the Taliban era.

According to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, just under 25% of Government employees

    country wide are female (38,735) compared to 180,565 males. Women are employed as

    advisors, deputies and heads of department. There are three female ministers and one

    female Governor. While men are in Ministerial and other decision-making positions and

    are enabled to access promotion, women in decision making positions are still less than

    men and still encounter difficulties in accessing promotion. Among state employees for

    example, most women are in the medical, educational and legal professions. Interviews

    resulted in statements of aspiration such as - we would like to have a female advisor- but

    there were very few clear indications that any planning has been done to ensure that

    these aspirations become reality.

Additional details on the research are provided in the body of the report but one clear

    recommendation emerging from the research is that there is a need for much more solid

    planning to ensure that females attain both positions and promotion inside the Afghan

    Civil Service.

Research findings

1. Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)

    ``To increase and build their capacity, women can easily participate in meetings, conferences and some professional and vocational training both inside and outside the

    country’’.

    Policy: To promote additional participation for women in social, political, cultural and other fields. The MoA subscribes to the policy of appointing everyone to the job he or

    she deserves.

Existing programs: To improve women’s abilities and increase their professional

    capacity, the MoA provides for them computer, English and other professional courses,

    according to the needs of different departments. For example in the agricultural

    department, courses would include agricultural research, caring for plants, forests,

    cooperatives, veterinary and other courses. The MoA has professional, experienced and

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    knowledgeable trainers and consultants some of which are provided by local NGOs. Currently, the MoA has no female consultants.

Staff: The number of the female employees of the central departments of the Ministry

    totals 251 people, including normal and professional staff and servants.

    Women in decision-making positions: Currently there are none.

Training for female staff: Women participate in meetings, workshops and conferences

    internally and outside of Afghanistan to increase and build their capacity. Some

    professional and vocational training is also provided.

Other comments: Based on the new Constitution, an association has been created

    within the Ministry which appoints women to available vacancies according to their

    abilities, choices and professions. During the process of the association, the first level of

    employees chosen are women.

Source: His Excellency, Hobaidullah Ramin, Minister, Ministry of Agriculture.

    Information received by letter.

2. Ministry of Economy (MoE)

``There are no differences between men and women workers. Particularly in the MoE,

    women work the same as men do and they have equal salaries. If we are talking about

    the violence against women and [their] rights - women’s rights have been violated.

    Women have suffered a lot…and so have men.``

Policy: The MoE - composed of the Ministries of Planning and Reconstruction and the

    Census Department - develops general economic policy for the Government in

    collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For

    example, the Development Budget. They have no specific policy for women, but at

    ministerial level, they have tried to initiate equal rights for women. The Ministry’s role is as a general policy maker - not an implementer. They say ``what we can do is to draft a

    good plan for the improvement of women’s life [lives] and have others implement it``.

Existing programs: The main activities are the national census; developing the legal

    framework for NGOs including registration and evaluation, and policy development

    relating to the economy, agriculture, education and other social affairs. During the past

    six months the Ministry has drafted general strategies, but there is no particular plan for

    women ``as the strategies belong to all the people of Afghanistan, and if they are

    implemented properly all men and women will benefit from them``. This Ministry is

    seeking a female advisor and says that ``we cannot immediately promote women to directorship or chairmanship of the Ministry because of the recent fighting years and the

    fact that women were kept away from education which led to loss of working confidence

    and as a result, today we have very few women who can work in higher positions.``

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