Civil Society as the Realm of Women’s Striving toward Equality


Throughout the world, women’s rights are being overridden by the rise of authoritarian ideologies. This “backlash” is felt, even in so-called liberal democracies, evident in the US Supreme Court’s revocation of women’s right to control their own bodies, in striking down Roe vs Wade.

American women, like their sisters the world over, organize in civil society actions to defend and reinstate their rights.  All the while women are taking up much of the responsibility for the social welfare of their communities eroded by the austerity that also characterizes the patriarchal authoritarianism that currently abrogates so much of the social progress of the 20th century.

Afghan women over the last year have faced a particularly severe form of this patriarchal repression of women’s human equality. As demonstrated in the two items posted here, they have shown special courage and citizen initiative in calling for their rights as integral to a positive future for their country.

Negina Yari, in the video below, testifies forthrightly to the realities of the denial of the rights of Afghan women. The Afghan civil society statement regarding the upcoming Ulema Loya Jirga, calling responsible and informed Muslims to seek to exercise their civic responsibility to participate in making public policy, asserts that the participation of both women and men is requisite to guiding the nation through the present multiple crises it faces.

We can all be inspired by the actions of these Afghan women, but more to the point what can we learn from them to confront the instances of our own repression? How can we make common cause with them, and be in active solidarity.? How can these learnings and active solidarity inform our work in peace education? (BAR, July 18, 2022)

Negina Yari addresses UN Human Rights Council debate on women & girls’ status in Afghanistan, 7-1-22

Negina Yari addresses The UN Human Rights Council debate in Geneva on women and girls’ situation in Afghanistan, on July 1, 2022. The statement by Negina Yari, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, at the “Urgent debate on human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan – 32nd Meeting, 50th Regular Session of Human Rights Council” was one of 25 speeches at the conference.

Afghan Civil Society Statement: Concerns of the Male and Female Ulema and Civil Society Regarding the Upcoming Ulema Loya Jirga in Kabul

download original statement (pdf)

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious and Most Merciful

Concerns of the Male and Female Ulema and Civil Society Regarding the Upcoming Ulema Loya Jirga in Kabul

Final Statement

We as Afghan civil society group of religious community, (NUA) male and female Ulema are welcoming the organization of a grand jirga by Afghan Ulema to discuss and find ways for the current political and social situation in Afghanistan. Any step forward is appreciated!

Afghan nation is passing from the hardest time of its history, political instability, social challenges, hanger, poverty due to frozen asset of Afghan nation has plunged the nation into humanitarian crisis and paralyzed the private sector. It ́s almost ten months the doors for schools are closed for girls, Afghan education system has badly impacted, unemployment of men and women in the government, NGOS, embassies and government has increased. At the same time the nation is affected by natural disaster such fire in the forests of Noristan province, earth quick in Paktika, Paktia and Khost and flood in 11 provinces Badakhshan, Takhar, etc.

This is the time that people of Afghanistan must come together to address the need of time. Civil society is the bridge between nation and government and their important role in nation building is undeniable. We call upon the IEA to trust on the national civil society as strong arms to support the nation. We are non-political and non-partial, we only stand for our nation in the past, today and tomorrow. The IEA must include us in the social and political life of the country. The upcoming Ulema Loya Jirga by Ulema is not shared or consult with civil society. We NUA as a platform of more than 6000 male and female ulema from across the country since last 10 years have been engaged and our participation is crucial today. Therefore, today on 28th June, Tuesday 2022 in Kabul we have organized this press conference and urge Taliban and the international community with following points:

1. Any step forward for nation building is welcomed and highly urge the IEA to include the male and female ulema from the civil society (NUA) if they really believe to hear the voices of nation

2. Women ulema inclusion in the upcoming jirga is crucial as they can represent half of the nation, ignoring them means ignoring 50% reality of the nation. We urge IEA to facilitate for inclusion of female Ulema from across the country

3. We urge IEA to establish better relation with civil society who are not political entities but we always paly the role where the government role was weak

4. We also call on the international community to stand beside the Afghan nation and civil society in these testing moments of the history, we ask the international community for the physical presence in Afghanistan through their consulate missions supporting the Afghan Civil Society and keeping eyes on the developments from nearby.

Kabul Afghanistan –  28/06/2022

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