Stand With Afghan Women

The Taliban has declared a complete ban on women’s education from school to university. Since the Taliban took power the life and livelihood of Afghans, especially of women has worsened as they suffer not just economic losses but innumerable curbs on the day-to-day freedoms of women.

In addition to prohibiting women and girls from attending school, the Taliban leadership has made a number of statements and implemented a slew of regulations controlling women’s movement and the choices they make. Women are restricted to their homes, they cannot work outside or travel alone or enter places of worship open to the general public.

The Taliban has a history of curbing women’s right and denying women equal rights and opportunities.  Prior to the Taliban's takeover in 1996, 60% of Kabul University's teachers (and half of its students) were women. Afghan women made up 70% of total school teachers, 50% of total civilian government workers (including 70% of total Kabul's 130,000 civil servants), and 40% of total doctors. Up until a year ago, the number of Afghan girls enrolled in school had increased from 100,000 in 2000 to more than 3.5 million, and female literacy had more than doubled.

Similar attacks on women's rights and freedom are happening across the globe. On the one hand, in Iran women are being forced to wear the hijab and cover their heads on the penalty of death. This has led to large scale protests and prosecution of anyone who openly stands in defiance of the Morality Police under whose custody Mahsa Amini died in September this year. On the other hand, India has seen large scale communal attacks on young hijab wearing women by the Sangh Parivar and right-wing forces who are not only attacking women’s freedom but are also denying their right to an education. These attacks on women’s choices, rights and their liberty is dangerous and has to be resisted at all costs.

We are witnessing a rise in right wing fundamentalist forces across the world who in the name of culture, religion and society are denying women education, jobs, dignity and equal rights. The pursuit for freedom and democracy cannot be won without women's liberty, freedom and rights as equal citizens.

Seeking inspiration from the indomitable and ongoing women's protests in Iran, we stand in complete solidarity with the women of Afghanistan, who are fighting the diktats of the Taliban.