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In the Headlines: Redefining the Role of Women in Afghan Society
Challenging oppressive standards enforced by the Taliban, Afghan women continue to take their rightful place in the transition of their country. Serving as #VoicesofHope in the fight for equality and opportunities for all Afghans, here are two recent newsworthy updates:
- For the first time ever, a female Afghan journalist’s byline has been featured in the foreign press. On May 26, Zahra Nader (along with Mujib Mashal and Taimoor Shah) was published in the international version of the New York Times.
A laudable achievement for any journalist, Zahra’s coverage documented Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada’s takeover as leader of the Taliban’s battle against the Afghan government. A featured journalist with Sahar Speaks, an organization “formed in response to the appalling lack of Afghan female reporters working for the international press in Kabul,” Zahra’s article is no doubt the first of many much needed contributions from women journalists in Afghanistan.
- On June 1, H.E. Roya Rahmani officially began her duties as Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Indonesia, presenting her credential letter during a formal ceremony attended by the envoys of seven other countries. Making progress on a promise by President Ashraf Ghani to “appoint at least four women ambassadors,” Ambassador Rahamni joins H.E. Shurkria Barekzai, Afghan Ambassador to Norway, as the first female leaders to assume their duties of diplomatic missions outside of Afghanistan.
In the face of unimaginable adversity, the examples set by Zahra Nader and Ambassador Roya Rahmani remind us of the critical role of women in all levels of a prosperous and equitable society.
Natalie Gonnella-Platts serves as the Director of the Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. In this role, Natalie is responsible for research and programmatic efforts that empower women worldwide to lead in their communities and countries. This includes the work of the First Ladies Initiative, which aims to enable and support First Ladies from around the world in effectively using their platforms to empower women and children in their countries. Additionally, she is the host of the Bush Institute’s award nominated podcast, Ladies, First; the co-author of a first-of-its kind analysis on global first ladies, A Role Without a Rulebook; and served as a project lead on the development of the Bush Institute’s 2018 special exhibit, First Ladies: Style of Influence.
Natalie studied Communications and International Studies (Peace and Conflict) at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia. She earned an MA in War, Violence and Security studies from the University of Sussex in Brighton, United Kingdom. Prior to joining the Bush Institute, she held roles in New York City at American International Group (AIG), and in London at ConservativeHome USA, the Legatum Institute, and BBC Worldwide. She is a member of Akola Project’s Advisory Council; a co-founder of Each Inc., a non-profit that seeks to provide innovative technology tools to organizations that care for and protect orphans and vulnerable children; and has previously served as a project strategy advisor to Stop the Traffik’s Finance Against Trafficking initiative.Full Bio
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