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No One Hears Our Voices: A One Year Update

In interviews, Afghan women and women’s rights organizations describe their experiences under Taliban rule and set out their hopes for the future.

In their own words, Afghan women call for women’s rights, inclusion in public life, urgent economic relief, and for the international community to step up in solidarity with them.   

“Women in Afghanistan are surviving, we are not living.” 

Over the past year, women in Afghanistan have faced growing restrictions on their rights as their country descended further into a devastating humanitarian and economic crisis. Women for Women International has been continuing and expanding its programs to reach more women, and along the way we have been asking Afghan women we serve about their needs, challenges, and priorities.  

When we conducted follow-up surveys and interviews with 204 women this July – nearly a year after the fall of Kabul and six months after our last survey – Afghan women shared stories of daily struggles for survival and dimming hopes for their futures. 

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Between December 2021 and February 2022, Women for Women International conducted phone surveys and interviews with current and former participants of our programs across Afghanistan and Afghan women’s rights activists and organizations continuing their work within Afghanistan.   

The objective of these conversations was to better understand their current experiences and primary challenges, identify any promising support mechanisms, and to listen to their self-articulated hopes for their future.   

One overarching message emerged: the international community still has an important role to play in exercising its power and leverage to support Afghan women’s rights and alleviate the economic crisis affecting the country.   

In July 2022, almost a year after the fall of Kabul, we conducted a follow-up survey with women and Afghan women’s rights organizations.  

They describe a harrowing situation which has significantly worsened since we last spoke with them in December of last year. Rather than improving, Afghan women cite new and worsening struggles to access healthcare and water due to deteriorating infrastructure and lack of services. Afghan women say that over the past year, they have turned to a broader spectrum of negative coping mechanisms including child marriage and selling some of their children in order to feed the others. 

“Previously if we were eating two times meal, now we are eating one time and also from one bread we have brought it to half bread.” 

Afghan women call for support that goes beyond solely humanitarian aid – which, according to our survey, often does not reach the marginalized women we work with. They call for the international community to prioritize long term economic solutions that restore jobs and economic activity so they can support themselves and their families. Afghan women also want their daughters to go back to school, and for the international community to stand with them in upholding their basic rights.  

“Day by day, Taliban are passing new rules which shorten the circle of our life.”   

To truly ACT with Afghan women, we first must hear their voices, understand their needs and priorities, and we must embrace their hopes for their own futures as our own.   

It's not too late to Act With Afghan Women.


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Act With Afghan Women

One year after the fall of Kabul, women in Afghanistan are starving and have lost access to their hard-earned rights, education, and jobs. Urgent action is needed.

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As winter continues, the threat of famine is real. Your donation will provide garden kits, cash transfers, and psychological first aid for women in need.