A female lawmaker from Afghanistan has said that Afghan women could win the legal right to have their names on their children's birth certificates and identity cards, under a proposal that is to be presented to the parliament.
The lawmaker, Naheed Farid, is an independent lawmaker who chairs the parliamentary commission on women's affairs. She, along with other MPs, had drafted an amendment to the population registration law. This is to be presented to the house after its summer break.
Naheed is one one the very few female lawmakers in the country.
For years now, women's rights campaigners have demanded that they be named on official documents including their children's birth certificates. Like Afghan identity documents, these carry only the father's name.
Even on the wedding card of a woman, her name does not appear, but only those of her father and husband-to-be. The woman's name does not appear on her grave either.
A Kabul-based women's rights activist, Wida Saghari, is a single mother, and her issues reveal how the custom also has a practical impact. In the absence of the father, Wida was unable to obtain identity documents for her children.
"My son had to enroll in school late because I was divorced and authorities would not issue the national ID for my son without his father's presence," she said.
About three years ago, a group of female rights advocates launched the #Whereismyname campaign, seeking an end to the stigma surrounding the naming of women in the country, where some even consider using a woman's name as offensive.
While the proposed legal amendment was welcomed by the campaign's founder Laleh Osmany, she also said that in a country so conservative and male-dominated, where deep-rooted patriarchy still prevails, many women would still face a lot of challenges if the law changed in their favour, News18 reported.
"In the past three years, I faced many personal challenges from my family and my relatives," she said. "My sister told me I brought shame on them by going to the streets and talking to men."
Her campaign has been supported by thoi Afghans, including journalists and celebrities.