Afghan President Hamid Karzai officially appointed Habiba Sorabi as minister for women’s affairs today, replacing Dr. Sima Samar who will head the country’s human rights commission. Sorabi is a pharmacist and women’s rights activist, who returned to Afghanistan after she fled to Pakistan following the Taliban takeover.
Sorabi is the third woman to be appointed to an official position in Afghanistan’s new transitional government - she will serve along with Mahboba Hoqooqmal, who had earlier been named as the women’s affairs minister but will instead serve in the more junior position of minister of state for women’s affairs, and Suhaila Seddiqi, named for public health minister.
The Feminist Majority believes that while these appointments represent a step forward for Afghan women, there is still much to be done. “We are glad to see that women will be taking an active role in the Afghan government,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “Now more funds need to be provided for the Women’s Affairs Ministry to help women achieve the full equality they deserve.”