In Solidarity with Women in Afghanistan
Over the past few weeks, we have been in close contact with our partners in Afghanistan. Our chapters and partners from around the world have also gotten in touch with us to ask how they can support the women and families affected.
Afghanistan is threatening to be a case for the reversal of women’s rights on a grand scale and in one fell swoop.
At this time, the most important thing we can do is support organizations that are on the ground helping NOW. These are the organizations that can make a difference! By supporting organizations on the ground, we demonstrate our solidarity and we all can help ensure there are resources for their work.
Afghanistan is threatening to be a case for the reversal of women's rights on a grand scale and in one fell swoop. These developments highlight the need to rally the international community to ensure that this imminent women’s rights nightmare for Afghan women and feminists is mitigated and averted.
Thousands of women in the Women’s March Global community are in solidarity with Afghan women and hope that with the combination of their own tenacity and the power of global solidarity, they are liberated soon, restoring that sense of hope and vision for progress that we saw a glimmer of not long ago.
The Global Count, Women’s March Global’s major project for 2021, was informed by evidence that women’s human rights are worse than they were 20 years ago. Our Interim Findings have since revealed that the elimination of violence, harassment, and abuse is the most selected priority by respondents in all 173 countries that were represented, Afghanistan included.
Perhaps most poignantly is that many Afghan respondents commented on how the situation for women in their country was improving, with one saying ‘the progress has been very innovative,’* and another saying that progress for women’s human rights in 10 years’ time looks ‘excellent.’* One respondent commented:
‘It is very good for me to have completed my master’s degree and I am currently teaching.’*
And yet, just a matter of weeks after these declarations of hope, women in Afghanistan were suddenly plunged back into uncertainty. An unsettling example of how even when progress is being made, we can never be sure whether things could take a sudden turn for the worse.
That being said, other respondents were already critical of the alleged efforts being made to push for progress in the country, with one respondent commenting:
‘No progress has been made in the last 10 years because it was all a show. Because at present, women do not have any information about the rights of their families, children, education, etc. If there was progress, men would stop violence and harassment, but none of it has been done, so there is no progress.’*
These testing times have also shown us, yet again, the power and bravery of women when they unite and stand up for each other. It was reported that a small group of women risked their safety to find out what the Taliban mean when they say they “respect women’s rights.” They stood holding signs demanding the right to work and go to school mere feet from armed Taliban fighters, who did not interfere. Had women tried the same thing the last time the Taliban was in power, they would likely have found themselves subjected to beatings, imprisonment, and possibly worse.
“It goes without saying that this is a deeply gendered crisis.”
‘It goes without saying that this is a deeply gendered crisis. From access to education and employment, to health, bodily autonomy, and freedom from forced marriages and persecution, the basic human rights and very lives of women in Afghanistan are at a renewed risk. Academics, political figures, journalists, and those who worked alongside U.S. forces before their departure are also among those in particular danger.’
The Women’s March Global community is in solidarity with Afghan women. We will continue to stand with you! Donate to the Urgent Action Fund
*responses translated from Dari