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ICYMI: Afghan Women Fear Rights Will Erode as U.S. Leaves

February 1, 2013 3 minute Read by Charity Wallace

Yesterday’s article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, Afghan Women Fear Rights Will Erode as U.S. Leaves, highlights the tenuous situation women and girls in Afghanistan find themselves.  After September 11, 2001, the eyes of the world turned toward Afghanistan and the world learned of the brutal and barbaric acts of the Taliban, especially against women.  Girls were forbidden from going to school and women were banned from leaving their houses without a male escort. More than a decade of progress has brought hope for a brighter future for Afghanistan, particularly its women.  Afghan women are serving as police officers, starting their own businesses, and one courageous woman is the governor of the Bamiyan Province.  These encouraging steps forward will help Afghanistan rebuild and lead to a more stable country – but, this progress is tenuous and the reversal of these hard-won gains will be devastating to the country and her women. President and Mrs. Bush remain resolute in their support of Afghan women.  Through the Bush Institute Women’s Initiative, they have hosted two conferences on Afghan women.  The first focused on education and the second on expanding economic opportunity and protecting women’s rights.  Studies show that if women are included in an economy, the country is more stable and prosperous.  And, if women are educated, their families and communities will be healthier, educated, and more successful. The Wall Street Journal article reminds us of the stakes for women in Afghanistan and stresses the need for the international community to stay committed to Afghanistan.  Pressure must remain on the leaders in Afghanistan to keep their word to protect women.  We cannot abandon the women of Afghanistan – because if we do, we almost guarantee them futures of oppression and violence.

This post was written by Charity Wallace, Director of the Women’s Initiative  at the George W. Bush Institute.


Author

Charity Wallace
Charity Wallace

Charity N. Wallace serves as the Senior Advisor to the Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute and is in an executive graduate program in pursuit of a Global Master of Arts degree in international relations from The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Most recently, Ms. Wallace served as the Vice President of the Global Women’s Initiatives and Senior Advisor to Mrs. Laura Bush. In this role, Ms. Wallace was responsible for setting the vision and managing the policy engagement for the women’s initiatives, including Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon global health initiative, empowering women in the Middle East and working with First Ladies from around the world. The Women's Initiative aims to improve access to education, health care, and economic opportunity for women and children in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.

From February 2009 through September 2010, Wallace served as the Chief of Staff to Mrs. Laura Bush.  Wallace oversaw Mrs. Bush’s initiatives - from her wide ranging policy agenda to her the publishing and promotion of Mrs. Bush’s bestselling book, Spoken from the Heart. Wallace served in the Bush Administration from January 2001 to January 2009.  During her tenure in the administration, she served as Deputy Chief of Protocol of the United States (2007-2009), Director of Advance for First Lady Laura Bush (2004-2007), and worked in public liaison positions in Presidential Advance, the U.S. Department of Education, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and USA Freedom Corps. During her tenure in the Bush Administration and in her current role, Wallace has traveled to 70 countries.

Ms. Wallace serves on the Board of Advisors for the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, the Advisory Board of ARZU Studio Hope, the Advisory Board of 4word Women and the Advisory Board of All In Together, an bi-partisan organization that promotes women’s engagement in political and civic life.  Ms. Wallace is an ex-officio member on the Human Freedom Advisory Council for the Bush Institute.  Ms. Wallace wrote the foreword for the book Work, Love, Pray, which was released in 2011. A native of California, Ms. Wallace graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, with a focus in international relations. 

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