Building Afghanistan’s Future: Promoting Women’s Freedom and Advancing their Economic Opportunity


March 31, 2011 - April 1, 2011

Building on continued support for the people of Afghanistan and Mrs. Bush’s leadership as the Honorary Advisor to the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council and her October 2010 op-ed on protecting the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, President and Mrs. Bush, along with the Bush Institute, hosted “Building Afghanistan’s Future: Promoting Women’s Freedom and Advancing their Economic Opportunity”. The conference was part of the Women’s Initiative at the Bush Institute, and in partnership with the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council. By bringing together representatives of the U.S. government, private sector leadership, and non-governmental organizations that promote economic opportunity for women in Afghanistan, the conference addressed how to continue a decade of progress and how to avoid a return to the brutal repression of the Taliban. Included among the speakers was President Hamid Karzai, delivering remarks via satellite from Afghanistan.

Hard won progress has been achieved in Afghanistan, particularly related to the rights of women. Women and girls once again have access to education, health care, political participation and employment. However, while many gains have been made, the status of women in Afghanistan is tenuous and their rights are in jeopardy. The conference identifies the obstacles facing Afghan women and highlights opportunities to promote freedom and expand economic engagement for Afghan women. Economic opportunity for an Afghan woman not only improves her individual prosperity, but also helps to provide for her family, stabilize her community and ultimately lift her entire country. Research shows that when women are included in the economy, countries are more stable and prosperous.

Event Video


For more videos from ‘Building Afghanistan’s Future’, please visit the Bush Center’s YouTube channel.