The President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani has made good on his election promise and appointed Anisa Rassouli to be his country’s first female Supreme Court judge. She is the first Afghan woman to be given such an important legal job. Rassouli will have to get past a parliamentary vote of confidence, but once in office she says she will increase the number of women in the judiciary and will address cases of violence against women properly.
Nearly 30 years fighting for justice
Rassouli graduated from the Law and Political Science Faculty of Kabul University in 1986, and says that interference in the nine-member High Court’s affairs was one of the main hurdles for the organisation, and she would work to stamp out corruption. She has been the head of the Afghan Women Judges Association and currently heads the Juvenile Appeals Court.
Conservative clerics are dismayed
Although Ghani maintains he has religious approval for the appointment, the Ulema Council of Afghanistan of Islamic clerics has opposed the nomination saying that Islam or Sharia does not allow a woman to occupy the position of a judge.
“We have expressed our stance in a letter to the president (…) asking him to revoke his decision, as there never has been a female judge in the history of Islam,” said council spokesman Attaullah Ludin.
Ghani means to continue
Women have also been appointed to positions in Ghani’s government in the ministries of Labour, Education, Counter Narcotics and Women’s Affairs. The president says he will be appointing more women to ambassadorial and governor-level positions in the future.
It is clear that more and more Afghan women, despite the fear of assassination or family ostracism, are making their voices count, protesting at their lot, and winning official recognition. Rassouli’s appointment can only embolden them further.Here is one of this year’s more original protests.