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Afghanistan - Women and the constitution

2003

Women and the Constitution Script Afghan 3 shoot, November 2003 Producer/Writer: Siri Nyrop Videographer/Editor: Brian Young Soundman: Michael Wilhelm TRT: 543 [Video: women at conference, pre-meeting] Narration: A small group of women meets to share experiences and ideas. They have come together from all over Afghanistan with high hopes. Their nation is deciding on a new constitution, and the women wish to be a part of Afghanistans future. 16 SOT speaker (in Pashto) 24 [#1, :13:57 in at de shiz-ye end] Education, freedom of speech, the economic situation of women we once had these rights. Here, in the province of Kandahar where people say, What kind of province is this? What sort of people are they? WE are the people, we, the women of this province. [Video: women at meeting] Narration: The women came to Kandahar to write an Afghan Womens Bill of Rights. They want what all Afghans want for their country: peace and reconstruction. As Muslims, they want a rule of law that is within the precepts of Islam. As women, they ask that the constitution recognize their civil and human rights. 19 For Afifa Azim, , Director of the Afghan Womens Network, this is an historic moment. 6 SOT Afifa Azim, Director, Afghan Womens Network (in Pashto) 39 [#2, :07:53 at takriban - :08:32] About half the population in our society or any society is women, and its very necessary that women participate in the writing of the law. It will inevitably have an impact on womens lives, and if they make a contribution to it, it will be very good for women, for Afghanistans reconstruction and its future. Video: women at meeting Narration: The women agreed on 16 rights for the constitution to recognize. Their top priorities: mandatory education through secondary school, access to adequate healthcare, and protection from violence and abuse. They asked for freedom of speech, the right to vote and hold public office. They asked for equal pay for equal work, for greater economic and personal control of their lives. 26 Women and the Constitution script, p. 2 SOT Sarah Chayes, Kandahar Director, Afghans for Civil Society (in English) 22 [#1, :51:38 - :52:01] They had some extremely sophisticated expectations of what could at least be laid down in the law. I think they understood that the law is not necessarily going to be something that is immediately applied. But if you get it in the law, thats a basis on which you can later challenge custom and practise. [Video: b-roll women in burqas getting off bus, Kandahar pix w/men Narration: The women take the opportunity in Kandahar to pray at the holiest shrine in Afghanistan, Kharka Sharif. Kandahar that was the center of the Taliban movement, and conservative customs regarding women are still strong here. Some are traditions that go back centuries, but they were enforced as if they were religious law in the Taliban regime. Social change comes slowly anywhere in the world, but even in Kandahar there are some signs of openness in the interest of all Afghans. 30 MOS Man in Kandahar (in Pashto) 21 [#2, :52:57 - :53:18] Women should have as many rights as men do. They should go to school and work in offices even in ministries. We need women as much as men to be doctors, engineers, everything. Men and women should be on the same level. [Video: women/streets of Kandahar Narration: In Kabul, many women share a desire for greater personal freedom and to take part in Afghanistans reconstruction. The central government is setting an example by appointing some women to public office. But for ordinary women, memories of Taliban excesses are still vivid, and cultural traditions are still strong. It takes courage to speak out. 21 MOS Woman #1 in Kabul (Dari/Pashto?) 19 [#12, :35:28 - :35:46] I defend womens rights, and others should too. Right now, the issue of women is such that theyre all sitting at home with their burqas, they dont defend their rights because they still fear the Taliban and are afraid to do anything. Women and the Constitution script, p. 3 MOS Woman #2 in Kabul (in Dari/Pashto?) 32 [#12, :38:01 - :38:31] We want deeds, not just words. We want to see the day when words become practise. Freedom is not to uncover your head or legs. That doesnt mean anything. Women should have top jobs, they should do important work. They should be given rights, the authorities should listen to their views. They should be respected! Video: women at conference Narration: At their conference in Kandahar, the women looked to the writing of a new Constitution as a step toward a day, when their words might become practise. 9 MOS Masuda Sultan, Program Director, Women for Afghan Women (in English) 21 [#3, :02:24 - :02:47] One of the most beautiful things about these women is that they are optimistic and hopeful, and you might ask, How can you have so much hope when this is the situation youre in? But they say, Because we are at the bottom of life in so many ways economically, socially, politically there is no where to go but up. [Video: woman, daughter and baby washing clothes in river] Narration: As one woman at the conference wondered, Its just as difficult to give birth to a boy as to a girl. Why should a girl have less rights than a boy? 11 END

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