Edwards Co-Chair of Afghan Women’s Task Force
June 15th marked the official start of the Afghan Women’s Task Force, and we are excited that this new bipartisan task force is co-chaired by WAND/WiLL Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD)!
As noted in our official statement on the war in Afghanistan, WAND advocates helping Afghan civilians, especially women and girls, to obtain safety, basic necessities, access to education and employment, and participation in leadership positions in the peace-making process. This new Congressional task force aims to do just that by offering mentorship programs for Afghanistan’s female members of Parliament, prospective elected officials, as well as civic and business leaders.
The launch of the task force follows the announcement of President Obama’s troop draw-down, to which many Afghan women responded with fear of a reversal in freedom and human rights progress. Afghanistan is considered the most dangerous country for women, and this task force serves to reassure them of our protection and support. The task force will aim to gain more human rights, especially women’s rights, and the present opportunity may be critical. In an op-ed for The Hill, former first lady Laura Bush said:
In 2007, I met with Afghan women at the White House who told me that they live in daily fear that the Taliban’s violence will reverse Afghanistan’s progress toward freedom. Their message was that we must take advantage of this time, or as one woman parliamentarian put it: “This is our only chance.” Today, there is a good chance of success as long as Americans remain engaged and women’s rights are protected.
While the task force’s stated mission is to help the women and girls of Afghanistan, it is also important to realize the greater impact its efforts will have on the rest of the country’s civilians. Ultimately, women’s leadership is extremely important for the long-term stabilization of Afghanistan. A fairer representation of women in leadership positions could lead to less corruption and more benefits
for local communities.
WAND is proud to have one of its own members leading this cause, and we wish everyone involved in the task force success.
This post was written by WAND DC Intern Kathleen Kang.