By Homa Hoodfar, Concordia University and Mona Tajali, Agnes Scott College | –
(The Conversation) – On Aug. 15, it will be a year since the Taliban’s forceful takeover of Afghanistan for a second time.
In the past year, we have witnessed a rapid return to the religious conservative rule and violation of women’s rights that many Afghans experienced during 1996-2001. As feared, the Taliban have reversed various past accomplishments in terms of women’s and girls’ rights, including limiting women’s access to employment, education, political representation and even freedom of movement.
Violence against women and girls has also been on the rise, while the Taliban ignore all international standards on human rights that many worked hard to ratify and make part of national law over the last two decades.
What women demand
But Afghan women, whether inside the country or those who have been forced to flee since August 2021, have refused to remain silent in the face of these attacks on their rights.
As members of the Women Living Under Muslim Laws network, we’ve spoken to women activists, leaders and former politicians who are now in exile in countries that range from Canada to Germany and Greece. We have learned about the continued struggle for women’s rights in Afghanistan and their diverse strategies of resistance.
Despite their political differences, many of the women are committed to building a unified front against the Taliban and their conservative stance on women’s rights, democracy and human rights.
One Afghan woman activist and former politician told us:
“At this unfortunate stage of our history, we have two main objectives: to support the women’s opposition inside Afghanistan, and to develop a unified message for the international community not to show any inclination of accepting the Taliban.”
Despite dealing with the trauma of the return of the Taliban and their own sudden displacement, many of these women continue to view themselves as representatives of Afghan women.