Join a growing chorus of global leaders and advocates in raising up the voices of Afghan women’s rights activists who are under imminent threat.
Immediate action must be taken to safeguard Afghan women most at risk: women’s rights activists, journalists, educators, civil society leaders, human rights defenders and direct service providers. The very women who have been on the frontlines for decades, risking their safety to realize the promise of equal rights, are being abandoned by those who pledged to protect them.
In the face of this mounting crisis, we are calling on the administration to immediately take four concrete steps to support Afghan women:
Provide direct evacuation flights for women who are under imminent threat.
Major roadways and borders have been blocked. Emergency evacuation flights are the only viable option for targeted women’s rights activists and their families. The U.S. military must remain on the ground to facilitate safe travel and entry to the airport and evacuation. The deadline must be extended until these women and their families are able to safely evacuate with the support of the U.S. military.
Protect and invest in women who remain in Afghanistan.
The administration must defend and bolster Afghan women’s rights organizations and their leaders. We must do all we can to ensure that they can continue to provide crucial services to women and girls who will remain inside Afghanistan regardless of who governs the country.
Allocate resources for livelihood assistance and resettlement.
Women and children who are able to evacuate will need urgent support. Emergency funding must be made available for resettlement.
Expand Special Immigrant Visas to include a category for at-risk women and raise the refugee cap.
Bureaucratic red tape is costing lives. The administration must accept more refugees and work with Congress to add a category to SIV visas for at-risk women. Additional staff and resources must be made available so that applications are fast-tracked.
"There are moments in history where we will be judged not by whether or not we won or lost but by whether or not we did the right thing. This is one of these moments.”
— Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International.
Organized by NGOs Vital Voices and Women for Women International, the group of celebrities, policy experts, NGO leaders and activists came together out of a common concern that the Biden Administration is not honoring its commitment to the women and girls of Afghanistan and is leaving behind the same female leaders that the U.S. and international community has supported and empowered for nearly two decades.
Signatories of the letter include:
Amanda Gorman, Poet and Activist
Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook
Allison Janney, Actor and Activist
Charlize Theron, Actor and activist and United Nation’s Messenger of Peace
Connie Britton, Actor and Activist
Debra Messing, Actor and Activist
Alyssa Milano, Actor and activist
Gina Gershon, Actor and activist
Maria Bello, Actor and activist
Marianne Williamson, Author, activist, and Women for Women International Ambassador
Natasha Bedingfield, Singer and activist
Jazmyn Simon, Actress
Alison Luff, Singer and actress
Christy Turlington Burns, Founder of Every Mother Counts, Model
Donna Karan, Fashion designer
Alyse Nelson, President & CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership
Diane von Furstenberg, Fashion designer and activist
Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security
Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International
Kate James, Chair of Vital Voices Global Partnership Board
V (formerly known as Eve Ensler), Founder V Day
Laurie Adams, President & CEO, Women for Women
Sonja Hoel Perkins, Founder of Broadway Angels, and Project Glimmer
Kathryn Vizas, Co-founder and Chair of the Board of TogetHER
Juliette Boselli, Owner, Denali Mountain Works
Alice Waters, Restaurateur, activist, and author
Rina Amiri, Non-resident fellow at NYU’s Center for International Cooperation; Senior fellow at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs; UN Senior Mediation Advisor
Saba Ghori, Vice President, Vital Voices Global Partnership
Susan Vitka, Philanthropist, producer, environmentalist
Mary McCormack, Actress
Amira Yahyaoui, Founder and CEO, Mos
Chandra Jessee, President, InMaat Foundation
Nilofar Sakhi, Lecturer in International Affairs at the George Washington University; Afghan Peace Process
Amy Marks Dornbusch, Director of Marks Family Foundation
Cheryl Thomas, Executive Director, Global Rights for Women
Gary Barker, CEO and Co-Founder, Promundo-US
Mahnaz Afkami, Founder, President, and CEO of Women’s Learning Partnership and former Minister for Women’s Affairs in Iran
Julia Drost, Chief of Staff, Population Services International (PSI)
Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director of Equality Now
Samay Nadery, Medical specialist at International Heath Centre of The Hague
Stephanie Sinclair, Photojournalist
Sohrab Azad, Freelance journalist, founder of Advocates for a Prosperous Afghanistan
Sweeti Noori, Former Country Director for Afghanistan, Women for Women International
Nooria Faizi, Employee Relations Specialist Supervisor at UC San Diego
Maryam Faiz, Concerned Citizen
Zakia Nadery, Concerned Citizen
Masooma Sharifi, Concerned Citizen
Noorjahan Akbar, Founder of Free Women Writers
Sam Worthington, CEO of Interaction:
Sarah Degnan Kambou, President of International Center for Research on Women
Elisha Rhodes, CEO of YWCA