Afghanistan Global Womens Rights

Afghan women demand that the world listens to them and does not forget them.

As people worldwide reflect on the achievements of women this International Women’s Day, millions of Afghan women and girls are mourning the loss of their basic human rights and freedoms. They call on the world to listen to them and give them a central role in any discussion about their country.

Since the Taliban took control of the government on August 15, 2021, it has launched a brutal campaign against women and girls, eliminating them from public spaces and opportunities. Among many restrictions, the regime has severely restricted Afghan women and girls’ education, employment, and mobility. Afghanistan is the only country in the world that bans women and girls from education and employment.

The Taliban had done this once before when they were first in power in the late 1990s. Since their return to power, the Taliban has reinstituted gender apartheid and has created a system in which women are systematically and methodically treated as less than humans and “less important.” This treatment of women cannot be ignored.

Women and girls cannot attend school past the 6th grade, cannot seek employment in many sectors, and have been blocked from every opportunity to better their lives. This week alone, the Taliban announced that only men would return to continue their higher education at public universities, once again depriving women of their fundamental human right to education.

The Taliban’s edicts and treatment of women and girls have also led to gross human suffering, including a collapsing economy and 28 million Afghans, mostly women and children, needing humanitarian aid. Six million of them are close to famine.

Afghan women and girls are not celebrating but demanding that their human rights and freedoms be restored. Several Afghan women speaking on various international platforms demand that Afghan women and girls’ suffering not be ignored and be given a central role in any discussion about their future and the future of their country.

Although very few can speak publicly because of fears of retribution from the Taliban, they urge governments and international organizations not to recognize the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan. “Women are dead under the Taliban… do not recognize the Taliban,” said another advocate at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

While there is a long way for women worldwide to achieve full equality; for Afghan women and girls living under the Taliban in Afghanistan, the road has become even longer and more treacherous.  

Since the Taliban takeover, Afghan women have been fighting for their freedom and equality across their country. Some have been thrown in prison, some are still missing, and some have even been killed, but the protests continue in various forms. Their advocacy demanding fundamental human rights and freedoms has not ceased.

On this International Women’s Day, Afghan women and girls demand “real and meaningful support and action” from governments and international organizations for the women of Afghanistan.

UN; social media.

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