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In Case You Missed It: Brussels Conference discusses the importance of empowering Afghan women

October 6, 2016 2 minute Read by Farhat Popal

This week marked the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, co-hosted by the European Union and the government of Afghanistan. The Conference brought together more than 70 countries and 20 international organizations and agencies to discuss Afghanistan’s new national development framework, ongoing reform efforts, and regional activities to support peace and economic cooperation. Donors pledged over $15 billion in aid at the Conference, signaling a commitment to Afghanistan’s future by the international community.

A vital part of that future is the political, social, and economic empowerment of Afghan women. During the Conference, a side event titled “Empowered Women, Prosperous Afghanistan” focused on the political and human rights of Afghan women, as well as socio-economic empowerment. The panelists discussed positive developments in country as well as enduring challenges faced by Afghan women and girls. Participants also outlined the Afghan government’s plans for increasing women’s participation in society and the economy.

As Federica Mogherini, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission noted, “The empowerment of women is not only a matter of human rights and social justice; it is also about development; it is about human growth; it’s about security; it is about fulfilling the potential of Afghanistan.” Continued investment in Afghanistan means continued investment in Afghan women, a prerequisite for a strong and stable country ready to build on its successes and face its challenges.

For more on Afghan women leading change, check out the Bush Institute’s Afghan Women’s Project.


Author

Farhat Popal
Farhat Popal

Farhat Popal serves as the Manager of the Women’s Initiative Fellowship and the Afghan Women’s Project at the George W. Bush Institute. In this role, Farhat is responsible for research and programmatic efforts that empower women worldwide to lead in their communities and countries.

Farhat studied Political Science/International Relations and History of the Near East at the University of California, San Diego. She earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining the Bush Institute, she worked on human rights programs in Afghanistan and Central Asia at the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in Washington, DC, and evaluated reconstruction projects in Afghanistan with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. While with SIGAR, she spent considerable time conducting field work at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. In addition to her international work, Farhat evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of local government programs at the City of San Diego and City of Oakland’s Offices of the City Auditor.

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