Women's Political Presence

Anna Larson

in Land of the Unconquerable

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780520261853
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948990 | DOI:
Women's Political Presence

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This chapter contextualizes the process, successes, and failures of affirmative action in the Afghan parliament since the Bonn Agreement established a reserved-seat system to guarantee Afghan women's participation. Central to the debate on affirmative action is the recent shift, in terms of political representation in general, from a “politics of ideas” to a “politics of presence.” General seats have become men's seats in public perceptions. Then, the chapter addresses the challenges concerning women's presence in parliament, and who they represent therein. It is clear that women's presence in Afghanistan's legislature has not resulted in the collective representation of women in general or the promotion of women's gender interests to date. The attitudes toward the legitimacy of their very presence in parliament, assumptions concerning who they represent therein, and the existence of cross-cutting identities and allegiances that fragment efforts to mobilize as a collective bloc are the factors which present key challenges.

Keywords: Afghan parliament; Afghan women; political representation; women's presence; Afghanistan; legislature

Chapter.  3600 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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