A number of years ago I developed a strong interest in Afghanistan since this time I’ve spent time both academically and personally researching the country’s history and conflict. For me it is a fascinating country with a rich culture and a great sense of pride. I have also come to believe that it’s a country with great potential but its is a country that is unfortunately being held back by diverse challenges. The lack of equality for women is one of these challenges, which I see as restricting any development for a lasting peace.
Often the international news headlines focuses on the military operation and loses the human element of this conflict. The violence and suppression experienced by women during the Taliban era, has been well documented, but it still remains the case that Afghan women face many challenges within their societies, ranging from; the lack of access to education, suppression, and violence.
Every 8th March the world celebrates International Women’s Day it is a day for people to take the opportunity to both honour the achievements of women and highlight the equality challenges still experienced by women.
Therefore to honour this day working with the Peace-making organisation Pax Populi, in 2013 I developed the “Be Inspired” initiative to highlight the roles, achievements, challenges and visions of Afghan women.
The initiative engaged Afghan participation too and it reached out to both men and women in Afghanistan, Afghan diaspora, MPs, international NGOs, community groups, Afghan students and human rights groups. And we asked them to respond to a series of questions which would give us insight into the different roles of women in Afghanistan. These questions related to what positive changes have Afghan women seen post 2001, the sustainability of these changes, the attitudes which need to be chanced for the advancement of equality, and the types of measures that are required to allow women to develop their futures.
To date there are 33 active responses with more to be added, and they have given us great insight into the views held by Afghans relating to women’s rights and the methods by which Afghan society can better develop equality for women.
The objective of the initiative is to; raise international support for Afghan women and their rights, provide inspiration to its readers, while the showcased profiles serve as role models for both Afghans and people around the world.
So please do check out this unique initiative and take the time to read though these inspiring profiles and great responses.