The fight for women’s and girls’ rights in a changing Afghanistan | United Nations | UN Women

News sources quoted from: United Nations


Media – UN Women is committed to #StayandDeliver in Afghanistan, where recent rollbacks on women’s rights have evoked fear for Afghan women and girls. UN Women Afghanistan Deputy Representative Alison Davidian breaks down this urgent situation, highlighting key areas for action to support the immediate and long-term needs of Afghan women and girls.

On 15 August 2021, the Taliban entered Kabul and took the city, and we knew from that moment that life for women and girls in Afghanistan would change. Over the past month, we have been seeing day by day how the lives of women and girls have been impacted. What we’re hearing and seeing from Afghan women and girls is fear. Women remember the 1990s and what it was like to live under Taliban rule, and that fear has been exacerbated by the fact that the Taliban have not been clear about their position on women’s rights. They have made broad statements that women’s rights will be respected within the framework of Islam, but their actions have not inspired much confidence.

Since the Taliban took power, a cabinet has been appointed that has no women. Deputy Ministers were appointed and, again, no women were included. The Ministry for Women’s Affairs has been abolished. In some provinces, women are being told not to come to work or not to leave their homes without a male relative. Women protection centers are being attacked, and the people that work in them are being harassed. Safe houses for women human rights defenders, including activists and journalists, are at capacity.

The situation for women and girls in the country is bleak, but we continue to see women fighting for their rights and demanding equality. This hasn’t changed, and it will not change. Afghan women have been at the forefront of fighting for their rights for centuries. Afghan women had the right to vote in 1919, before the United States gave women the right to vote. In 1921, the first school for girls was established. The 2004 constitution enshrines gender equality. Throughout the decades, we see how Afghan women’s advocacy has been seminal to the country moving forward, in both peace and development.

UN Women in Afghanistan is committed to staying and delivering for Afghan women and girls. Firstly, this means engaging in advocacy to ensure that women’s rights are protected and promoted and that Afghan women are not just talked about, but that they are heard from directly. The eyes of the world are on Afghanistan now, but that won’t last forever. It’s a core part of the role of the international community to highlight the situation for women and girls, even when the cameras stop rolling. Advocacy also means ensuring that women’s rights defenders have resources and protection—a critical marker of peace and security in any country.

Another key part of UN Women’s work is supporting women’s civil society and the women’s movement in Afghanistan. We know that women’s organizations are engines for progress and accountability, but that women’s rights organizations only receive less than one per cent of overseas development assistance [1]. We need to counter that trend by strategically and intentionally investing in women’s civil society organizations.

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