Beyond the Headlines: The Role of Women

On May 5, 2015 more than 300 supporters gathered at 583 Park Avenue in New York to attend Women for Women International’s 7th Annual Luncheon. Guests enjoyed a provocative conversation focused on shifting the western narrative on Afghanistan that focuses on the violence and conflicts, and fails to acknowledge the strong women who are reshaping the country.

In a conversation moderated by Pat Mitchell, a veteran journalist and advisor to the Paley Center, panelists David Rohde, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, his wife, magazine photo editor Kristen Mulvihill, and Noorjahan Akbar, an Afghan activist and blogger for gender equality, shared their experiences in Afghanistan with the audience. Rohde noted, “There are two Afghanistans – one dominated by the headlines of violence and the other captured in the untold stories and actions of courageous activities and everyday Afghans working to rebuild”.

The panelists shared how the narratives told about Afghanistan in the Western media fail to reflect the whole story. Perhaps most disturbing, the media focus on violence and conflict misses the important stories of the strong women who are reshaping their country and marginalizes their voices and value. “Women can be the change agents for Afghanistan’s future” noted Mitchell, and the panel agree that organizations like Women for Women International play an important role in providing the critical support and tools women need to shape the future. Watch a portion of our Luncheon conversation.

See our slideshow of photos from the event.