Solidarity with Afghan women: the Time and Place for Feminist Responsibility

  • October 8, 2021
  • 2 PM EET / 1 PM CET
  • Online

We strongly believe that Afghan women matter to all of us, even if we are outsiders. Because they are women, because they are people like us

Event description: 

Despite Taliban’s political statements promising to protect and respect women’s rights, upon their return to power, they enacted a series of policies that contradicted these promises:

  • The Ministry of Women Affairs was transformed into the Ministry of Vice and Virtue;
  • Women were fired from their jobs in all sectors, except health, retaining only cleaning jobs;
  • Women are banned from most activities, including playing sports, and they can only go out covered with a hijab and accompanied by a man;
  • New regulations were introduced for segregating universities based on gender, with questions regarding the actual participation of women due to low resources;
  • Women are confined to private spaces, while the disappearance of the shelters cuts off a vital escape route for women and girls fleeing domestic abuse, sexual violence, and forced marriages.

Women’s advocacy organizations have been voicing their appeals to protect Afghan women and spreading the word about how to help through donations, advocacy, information or volunteering.

Given this situation, the webminar aims at addressing the rapidly deteriorating situation of women’s rights in Afghanistan and the degree of responsibility that feminists outside Afghanistan carry towards Afghan women. As feminist journalist Leila Sackur argued, “Our response to the gendered violence of the Taliban cannot be an endorsement of more military intervention in Afghanistan, and permanent occupation.”

The main issue to be discussed is the following: How can feminists outside Afghanistan be responsible today for Afghan women? How can we translate the responsibility from outside into action and concrete measures to support, without falling into the trap of white savior complex and the rhetoric of women and children (Cynthia Enloe) and deny any chance of a systemic change in favor of Afghan women?

Other questions to be addressed during the webminar: 
  • How can Afghan women be involved in the decisions about the future of their country and their own rights? With the Ministry of Women Affairs, “whether someone liked it or not, there was a seat for women at the table,” declared Hasina Safi, former head of the Ministry.
  • What can foreign governments do in order to have Afghan women participate in international negotiations that affect their lives? How can feminist activists across the world lobby their governments into advocating for the protection of the rights and participation of Afghan women?

Watch the live streaming on our Facebook page.


Liliana Popescu
Professor Liliana Popescu (Ph. D. University of Manchester), Vice-Rector for International Relations, The National University of Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA)

Key-note speakers:

young afghan woman who accepted to speak live from Afghanistan under a pseudonym

Lisa Kakar
Co-Founder RUIDAD (Afghan feminist movement) and Afghan women’s rights activist

Cynthia Enloe
Research Professor in the Department of International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE), affiliation with Political Science and with Women’s and Gender Studies, all at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts

Iulia Motoc
Judge at the European Court of Human Rights and Professor at the University of Bucharest

Watch the full recording of the webinar

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