But despite these advances, as the Taliban now comes to control Afghanistan, many rightly fear that such advances in women’s rights will be undermined. As a Kabul resident recently wrote for The Guardian, “I have nearly completed two simultaneous degrees from two of the best universities in Afghanistan. I should have graduated in November from the American University of Afghanistan and Kabul University, but this morning everything flashed before my eyes. I worked for so many days and nights to become the person I am today, and this morning when I reached home, the very first thing my sisters and I did was hide our IDs, diplomas and certificates. It was devastating. Why should we hide the things that we should be proud of? In Afghanistan now we are not allowed to be known as the people we are.”
The resident added: “As a woman, I feel like I am the victim of this political war that men started. I felt like I can no longer laugh out loud, I can no longer listen to my favourite songs, I can no longer meet my friends in our favourite cafe, I can no longer wear my favourite yellow dress or pink lipstick. And I can no longer go to my job or finish the university degree that I worked for years to achieve.”
The news coming out of Afghanistan today is devastating and you need only see the great lengths Afghans are going to in an attempt to leave the country under Taliban control to understand that this is not only the future they don't want, but one they also fear. With women and girls facing an especially unsafe, dangerous and grim outlook, there’s never been a more important time to continue supporting organisations providing aid in Afghanistan. Here’s how you can help from here.
Women for Women International
The Women For Women International Afghanistan team is closely monitoring the situation in Afghanistan, all while serving women and their families across the country. Per the organisation’s statement, “Our team is still confident that given our history of working with community and religious leaders across the spectrum, of engaging men as well as women, that we will be able to continue to serve our participants and their families safely.”
The organisation has reached more than 120,000 women in Afghanistan over the past few decades, and now hopes to increase services for those who are displaced and need help. To support the organisation and the work they do by helping to scale this program for women at such a crucial time, please donate at the website here where you can make a one-time or monthly donation.
The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security
The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security highlights women’s participation in peace and security efforts. Through their website and online campaigns, GIWPS is helping many around the world to support Afghan women during this time. As the organisation outlines, it’s important to support humanitarian visas and immediate evacuation of high-risk Afghan women, to support safe houses that are protecting women targeted by the Taliban, and to support humanitarian aid to Internally Displaced Persons in Kabul.
GIWPS website outlines the actions that individuals or organisations can take to help Afghan women now, and the hope is that by acting quickly and strategically, a difference can be made. To make a donation, visit the website here.
Women for Afghan Women
This grassroots organisation promotes women’s rights while simultaneously providing protection for women and children in Afghanistan and New York. Devastated by the turn of events and the speed at which the Taliban has enforced violence and conflict on Afghanistan, the organisation is now seeking to help the thousands of Afghans who have had to flee their homes, towns and provinces in search of refuge. Women for Afghan Women provides safe shelter, resources and aid to keep the thousands of women, children, families and staff who are under their care. To support the organisation, donate via their website here.
Make a donation to provide humanitarian aid
Due to the conflict currently taking place in Afghanistan, more than 100,000 people have been displaced. These include children, women and girls and families that have now been forced to seek shelter in open air parks in the outskirts of Kabul. Thankfully, a GoFundMe campaign has been created by Afghan activist Samira Hamidi and is administered through local volunteers that are getting aid directly to those in need. You can make a donation and contribute to the cause here.