Listening to Afghan Women
On Friday, April 29th, WAND joined activists from across the country for a radio town hall meeting at American University. The town hall meeting used Skype to connect American women in Washington, DC with Afghan women in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The Joined by War: Women’s Rights in Today’s Afghanistan broadcast focused on how Afghan women continue to be affected by the decade-long war. As the United States seeks to drawdown troops from Afghanistan in July 2011, it remains to be seen how the status of women’s rights in Afghanistan will be affected. The audience members and two panelists, Sima Samir (Chair, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission) and Safia Sidiqi (women's rights activist and former Afghan parliament member), reiterate that they want participation in the peace processes, not just protection from the Taliban.
The broadcast made it clear that Afghan women desire to be empowered and included in developing a sustainable peace in Afghanistan. Peace is not merely the absence of war, but must include transitional justice for those most affected by war – women and children. As such, Afghan women participating in the town hall meeting indicated that they want to be part of reconciliation and reintegration programs that provide them with greater educational, political, and economic opportunities.
During the broadcast, Afghan women emphasized that military intervention alone will not provide peace and stability. For a lasting peace to take root in Afghanistan, support for development, health, and educational programs must be provided.
Joined by War will broadcast in Afghanistan on Radio Killid and will air on WAMU 88.5 FM and public radio stations across the U.S. on Wednesday, May 4 at 1pm ET and 9pm ET. For more information about the broadcast, click here.
WAND Field Coordinator Elaina Ramsey was present at the town hall meeting and wrote a blog posting of her reflections. You can find her blog posting on the WAND Action Center blog section, or by clicking here.
- "Afghan Women Speak" report by David Cortright and Sarah Smiles Persinger, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
- “Women in Afghanistan” hearing, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Tuesday, May 3 at 10am in the Cannon House Office Building
- WAND’s Official Statement on Afghanistan