In a landmark event for Afghanistan, four women were recently hired as park rangers in Afghanistan’s Band-e-Amir National Park, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. These women are the first females ever employed as park rangers in Afghanistan.
In 2012, Afghanistan’s Band-e-Amir Protected Area Committee made the groundbreaking decision to hire women rangers for Band-e-Amir, Afghanistan’s only national park. Park managers, representatives from the 14 villages in the park, as well as provincial and district governments unanimously endorsed the concept. The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL) took pioneering action to recruit and hire the women rangers in July 2013.
These four dedicated women represent a significant milestone for Afghanistan’s law enforcement and women’s employment as well. Less than 1% of Afghanistan National Police are female, according to NATO. The World Bank estimates that only 16% of Afghan women are employed in the formal economy.
“The new park rangers powerfully demonstrate that Afghan women can successfully step into professional positions where they are actively engaged in protecting Afghanistan’s wild life and wild places,” said Anne G. Williams, WCS Afghanistan Livelihoods and Gender Advisor.
WCS Afghanistan Country Program Director Richard Paley added: “The four new women rangers will make a great contribution to the effective management of Band-e-Amir. In helping to safeguard Afghanistan’s wildlife and natural wonders, these new employees, along with their male colleagues, can serve as role models for other equally qualified and conservation-minded men and women.”
Mr Haji Akhlaqi, a village elder, and Head of the council that represents the 14 villages in Band-e Amir National Park remarked, “The community appreciates the employment of the woman rangers. They greatly assist many woman tourists who come to visit the park and utilize the ‘sensitive’ activities such as bathing in the spiritual waters. They are a good addition to the present park rangers and park management in general.” More....