Women in Afghanistan - 1919 to present

Today, we would like to share with you how the regime changes, visionary leaders and wars have affected the lives of Afghan women in the past 100 years, and how the current negotiations with the Taliban could affect their future.


We start with Afghanistan under the monarchy between 1919 and 1979, wherein King Amanullah and Queen Soraya attempted to modernise Afghanistan and gave unprecedented rights to women. We then move on to the Russian occupation, wherein Afghan women had many rights but it was unsuccessful in the rural areas. Finally, we touch upon the status of women during the presence of the United States and now, the return of Taliban today.


While the Taliban vowed to respect the rights of women and make the society inclusive, all within the Sharia law, people all over the world have shared concerns about the future of women in Afghanistan. Here are some Afghan voices:


‘I worry that all the progress that has been made since 2001 will be lost if the Taliban are recognized and given legitimate political power. I worry that Afghan women will once again become collateral damage.’


“The situation is so scary. I can’t go out. As an unaccompanied single woman, life here is over for me. If the Taliban get to know of this, they will marry me by force. I am a human rights defender and worked with many national and international organisations. I am also a Yoga instructor. If the Taliban know of my background and work experience, they will kill me immediately. “


“I feel like I was sentenced to life imprisonment. I can no longer be free; free to study like before, go to university, talk with friends, laugh and joke. I can no longer achieve my goals and dreams. I can no longer pick the colour I want for my clothes. I have to give up my dream of becoming a journalist. My voice has been silenced”


We, at Rethinking Refugees stand in solidarity with our sisters in Afghanistan and will continue in raising awareness and bringing their voices to you.

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