Mothers' Names To Be Included On Children's Birth Certificates And ID Cards In Afghanistan

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Mothers' Names To Be Included On Children's Birth Certificates And ID Cards In Afghanistan

Photo: Herat Governor Wahid Qattali praised the activists who led the campaign to reclaim the identities of Afghan women. Omid Sobhani

Mothers in Afghanistan will now have their names printed on the national identity cards and birth certificates of their children.

The move comes after a campaign by activists. Up to this point, only the names of fathers were printed on their children's official documents.

The campaign to have the names women's names included in official documents began three years ago and gained traction on social media under the hashtag #WhereIsMyName. The campaign went on to gain widespread support from lawmakers and activists.

Within Afghan society, using a woman's name in public can be frowned upon. In videos by #WhereIsMyName campaigners, women were seen on camera announcing their own names and the names of their mothers in an act of defiance and solidarity.

Laleh Osmany, who founded the campaign, spoke of her joy when she said:

"There is no doubt that this victory is the result of persistent campaign and consonance among the campaigners and citizens. The government also stood by the citizens, and I express my gratitude to the president himself and his deputies for their support. I also thank everyone, men and women who supported our campaign and raised their voice, and congratulate all equal rights campaigners [on this victory]."

The Afghan cabinet's legal affairs committee announced:

"The decision to include the mother's name in the ID card is a big step towards gender equality and the realisation of women's rights."

However, Mahjooba Nowrouzi, who writes as the BBC's Afghan service, says the move will likely face severe opposition from religious conservatives, particularly as many Afghans see the new law as being imported by the Western powers who have invaded Afghanistan and been involved in fighting Taliban forces for almost 20 years.

He added that the denial of women's names in Afghan society is endemic and causes damage throughout their lives. He reported:

"The problem starts early, when a girl is born. It takes a long time for her to be given a name. Then when a woman is married, her name does not appear on her wedding invitations. When she is ill, her name does not appear on her prescription, and when she dies, her name does not appear on her death certificate or even her headstone."

According to The Women, Peace and Security Index, Afghanistan is the 2nd worst place to be a woman out of 167 countries, with Yemen being officially the worst place in the world to be a woman.

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Thinking Humanity: Mothers' Names To Be Included On Children's Birth Certificates And ID Cards In Afghanistan
Mothers' Names To Be Included On Children's Birth Certificates And ID Cards In Afghanistan
Mothers in Afghanistan will now have their names printed on the national identity cards and birth certificates of their children.
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