Women and Girls’ Rights in Afghanistan Demand Urgent Attention

Three years of Taliban ruling has resulted in multiple crisis taking place in the country: economic, humanitarian, climate, and political. Each of them are interconnected and reinforced by most significant one, the women’s rights crisis. The de-facto government has enforced direct restrictions on Afghan girls and women such as banning them from education at all levels, limiting their freedom of movement, removing them from the government and restricting them from accessing most jobs. These actions signal the goal of ultimately making them invisible in the patriarchal society. In addition to the controlling actions, the Taliban has also restricted national and international organization’s programs and projects focusing on women and their rights As a result, the country has ranked worst out of all countries in the status of women according to the 2023 Gender Index.

To combat this dire situation, the EU and UN Women launched the Afghanistan Gender Country Profile 2024 in June 2024. The Gender Profile has the goal to put pressure on maintaining women and girls’ rights in the country high on the international agenda and include this focus on all international assistance to the country. The UN Women developed the Gender Profile as part of the partnership with the EU in Afghanistan, with the aim to recognize necessary actions and objectives under the Ender Action Plan in External Action 2021-2027 (GAP III). The goal was to provide a detailed analysis across six key thematic areas, making it one of the most complete gender analyses in the country since the de facto group took over. The key findings of the report included that the decisions by the de-facto government will have long term generational impact and negative inter-generational social and economic consequences. Despite women facing these challenges, Afghan women are continuously adapting and finding new ways of making themselves visible. The report highlighted that the situation demands women-led, gender-transformative, and evidence-based approaches.

The Gender Profile also outlined ways to move forward, stating that the international community should avoid normalizing the discriminatory practices. This can include implementing measures that would unintentionally support the Taliban’s policies, norms and values regarding women. The report added that all humanitarian and human rights interventions should include the improvement of women’s rights as a fundamental condition. The report pointed out that the only way to achieve a brighter future is by listening and fully supporting the Afghan women in their fight for equality.

The Gender Profile supports the vision and mission of Gender Concerns International. It offers hope that it provides life-saving aid, and becomes a catalyst for really change in women’s lives in the country.