Efforts to boost the participation of women in Afghan politics are in serious jeopardy, an IWPR debate has heard.
Noor Mohammad Noor, a spokesman for the Independent Elections Commission (IEC), said that attitudes towards female members of parliament and provincial councillors remained "backward" and that it was proving difficult to change public perceptions.
Addressing more than 20 students from universities in Kabul and Nangarhar, he claimed legislation passed in July last year to reduce the number of provincial council seats reserved for women was a mistake.
Under changes agreed by the lower house of parliament, the percentage of seats allocated for women was revised down from 25 to 20 per cent. Only 84 seats out of a total of 420 are now earmarked for female councillors, he said.