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Former Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs and Chair of the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative Policy Advisory Council Paula Dobriansky, along with Former Ambassador for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer, write this week for CNN.com on the significant but fragile gains made by Afghan women in recent years.
For example, school enrollment for girls has increased from 5,000 under Taliban rule to more than 2.4 million today. Girls are back in school, women hold important positions in local and national government, and they play a vital role in the country’s economy. When women are empowered to participate in civic life, they contribute to the stability and the prosperity of their nation.
But a recent United Nations report finds that in the first six months of 2013, the deaths of women and children jumped 38 percent compared to the same period last year. Violence is on the rise, and Afghanistan's elections and the impending drawdown of American troops mark a new era in the country's development.
“American forces will be drawn down next year. It's absolutely imperative that their exit not bring on a backslide. The country's government must be expected to keep its commitments to women and girls,” write Dobriansky and Verveer.
Mrs. Bush has continued to promote women’s freedom in Afghanistan by speaking out on the issue and through her work with the Bush Institute’s Afghan Women’s Project. To learn more about the continuing commitment to stand with the women of Afghanistan and how you can support their gains, visit the Afghan Women’s Project page. Read the full article from Dobriansky and Verveer here.
What’s Happening in Afghanistan?
While there have been tremendous gains in Afghanistan, lack of security threatens these gains daily.
Q&A with Dr. Nilofar Ibrahimi, Member of Parliament, Afghanistan
Dr. Nilofar Ibrahimi is a member of the national assembly of Afghanistan. She represents Badakhshan province in the Wolesi Jirga (house of representatives). Her story is one of survival, pursuit of dreams, and dedication to women’s well-being and health. Here, Dr. Ibrahimi shares her thoughts on the current state of Afghan women’s empowerment, the challenges women face in achieving equal rights, and the impact women have on the country’s long-term peace, security, and prosperity.
In Case You Missed It: The Breadwinner, an animated film about the strength and resilience of Afghan women and girls, premieres in the U.S.
The Breadwinner, a new animated film from executive producer Angelina Jolie, tells the story of Parvana, an 11-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. When her father is wrongfully arrested, Parvana disguises herself as a boy in order to support her family. With dauntless perseverance, Parvana draws strength from the stories her father told her, and ultimately risks her life to discover if he is still alive. The Breadwinner is an inspiring reminder of the power of stories, and their potential to unite and heal us all. It also provides an important spotlight on the struggle endured by Afghan families during the Taliban regime and the resilience of women and girls and their influence in building a brighter future for Afghanistan. Last year, the Bush Institute released We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope, which spotlights more of these courageous stories of Afghan women. Learn more about the book and our work by visiting:&nb