Virtual Roundtable “Voices of Hope: Realities of Afghan Women”

On Wednesday 25 May 5 PM CEST (8:30 PM AFT), the Ban Ki-moon Centre (BKMC) and its Afghan fellows from the Global Citizen Women Empowerment Program hosted a virtual roundtable “Voices of Hope: Realities of Afghan Women” to highlight the activism of Afghan women on the ground. 

International Gender Champions Her Excellency Manizha Bakhtari, Ambassador of Afghanistan to Vienna, and BKMC CEO Monika Froehler spotlighted Afghan women as resilient and active agents of change fighting for sustainable peace.

“The spirit of Afghan women will never die”  – H.E. Manizha Bakhtari

 

Both iterated the risks to civil society leaders, activists, and reporters, especially women, and their shrinking involvement in public life due to the Taliban’s fundamentalist hardliner policies. Their resistance is moving more and more off the streets and onto social media and smaller underground movements.

“We are currently experiencing a new generation of [ Afghan women] that is more enthusiastic and more focused.”  – Gender and Feminist Researcher at the McMaster University of Canada, Executive Director of the Immigrant Culture and Art Association (ICAA), and former Law Professor at Kabul University Marufa Shinware

With their knowledge and independence gained over the last 20 years, Afghan women are increasingly trying to transform the system they are living in and resisting the Taliban’s oppression. They also question the international community’s silence and condemn global misbelief in a new and more liberal Taliban regime. 

Increased solidarity is needed to fight for democracy, human rights, and peace. 

Watch the recording of our Roundtable via YouTube. 

Join us for our Virtual Roundtable “Voices of Hope: Realities of Afghan Women”

On Wednesday 25 May 5 PM CEST (8:30 PM AFT), the Ban Ki-moon Centre (BKMC) and its Afghan fellows from the Global Citizen Women Empowerment Program are organizing a virtual roundtable “Voices of Hope: Realities of Afghan Women” to provide a space for local, regional and international Afghan activists to come together and share their stories to a wide audience.

The event seeks to raise awareness about the current situation of Afghan women on the ground and spotlight local women’s activism as well as the international Afghan diaspora and their efforts in fighting for sustainable peace. The roundtable should serve to devictimize Afghanistan’s women and instead portray them as active agents of change. 

AGENDA:

Moderators: BKMC Program Officers Jessica Besch and Viola Christian

Welcome Remarks: BKMC CEO Monika Froehler

Opening Remarks: H.E. Ambassador Manizha Bakhtari, Ambassador of the Republic of Afghanistan to Vienna

Roundtable Discussion:

  • Hooria Sardar, Former Director-General of Women’s Economic Empowerment and Child Care at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Afghanistan (MoLSA), Gender and Women Studies Expert, Women’s Rights Activist, and BKMC Global Citizen Fellow

  • Marufa Shinware, Gender and Feminist Researcher at the McMaster University of Canada, Executive Director of the Immigrant Culture and Art Association (ICAA), and former Law Professor at Kabul University

  • Dr. Zahra M., Dentist and Leader of the Afghan Women’s Unity and Solidarity Group 

BACKGROUND:

In 2019, at the margins of the first BKMC Women Empowerment Program, the Centre together with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and Women in International Security Austria organized the event “ A Long Road to Peace – Realities, Hopes, and Visions from Afghanistan”, featuring five of its stellar Afghan women fellows and activists as speakers. Processes of peace talks between the United States and the Taliban in that year gave reason for hope for a secure, democratic, and equal Afghanistan. Including women in these negotiations was deemed crucial for the achievement of sustainable peace and women’s rights. The fellows suggested solutions for their country’s challenges, talked about their own initiatives, and discussed women’s roles in decision-making and peace processes.

The developments since August 2021 and the internationally unrecognized governmental rule by the Taliban have once again crushed the rights and dignity of women and girls, spiraling into a humanitarian crisis as we speak. While some were able to leave Afghanistan on time, many are still stuck or staying voluntarily to defend their country against the authoritarian and extremist Taliban regime.

Adhering to its mission statement of empowering women and leaving no one behind, the BKMC wants to create a safe platform for its Afghan fellows to raise awareness about the situation of Afghan women and youth on the ground by jointly organizing an virtual roundtable. 

Register for the event here to join or zoom or click here to set a reminder for our live stream via YouTube.