British Government Commitment to Women in Afghanistan

In the House of Lords on the 14th of June 2010, Baroness Goudie asked the following: Mary Avon conference 2010 Baroness Goudie: My Lords, I welcome very much the Statement by the Leader of the House and the Prime Minister today, and the commitment to funds for the future of the Ministry of Defence. More importantly, however, there is also the commitment to the funds for development. That is extremely important for women and children in Afghanistan. We made a commitment at the London conference to assist women and children in education, not only in schools but at university. By a quota system, almost 50 per cent of the MPs in Afghanistan are women. Those women do not have access to the President or proper access to Ministers. As well as a commitment to education, we should also have a commitment to those women who are elected MPs; they should be able to meet together as a caucus and be assisted in that way, not just kept in their constituencies.

Lord Strathclyde: The noble Baroness is quite right. Development goes hand in hand with the work of the military and, as the Statement laid out and as I have said again this afternoon, this is very much a partnership and it must, almost by definition, include qualitative improvements in education and health throughout Afghanistan, helping younger women and young men to meet their potential. Since the London conference, good progress has taken place on commitments made there on a number of important areas: on corruption; on development and governance; and on reconciliation and reintegration. I very much echo what the noble Baroness has said this afternoon. It is uppermost in our minds.

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