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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 Deputy 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. The portfolio currently includes the First Ladies Initiative, the Afghan Women’s Project, and the Women’s Initiative Fellowship. Natalie leads 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.
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 also 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 globally, and has previously served as a project strategy advisor to Stop the Traffik’s Finance Against Trafficking initiative.Full Bio
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.
Global Leadership: A Look Back At 2017
As we celebrate 2017, we reflect on some of the top moments from the Bush Institute's Global Leadership Impact Center, home to the Human Freedom initiative, Women's Initiative, and Global Health initiative.
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