Afghan Women’s Network

The Afghan Women's Network (AWN) is the largest women's network in Afghanistan. With over 110 member organizations and 5,000 women, the Network fights for the rights of women and children in Afghanistan. Human rights champion Afifa Azim and several other exiled activists in Pakistan founded the Network in 1995 following the UN's Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. The Network's vision is an Afghanistan in which women, children and men enjoy equal rights and women's contributions to society are respected and honored.

In the 1990s, the women’s movement in Afghanistan consisted of various women’s rights organizations and individual activists. The Afghan Women’s Network helped combine these disparate parts into a stronger, more cohesive whole, better able to campaign for the rights of women and children. Today, the Afghan Women’s Network is an established and influential network with close ties to international organizations and its own legal department. Due to its strong position, the Network can actively lobby for its cause, put pressure on lawmakers and raise awareness of women’s rights issues among the population. The main goal is to see that women participate in the country’s development and government institutions.

With the fall of the Taliban regime, the situation for women in Afghanistan improved somewhat. Many positive developments can be seen over the past 10 years, especially regarding education, the right to work and access to the job market. Women now often feel a bit freer outside the home, and a ministry for women’s rights has even been set up. But despite this progress, violence and discrimination against women still predominate in Afghanistan.

For the 11th anniversary of UN Resolution 1325, which guaranteed women the right to play an equal role in peace processes, a major Afghanistan conference was organized in Bonn in December 2011. The Afghan Women’s Network sent ten representatives to the conference. In the run-up to the event, the Network also launched its “Green Scarves for Solidarity” campaign, probably its most effective and well-publicized one to date. The green scarf is a symbol of the Afghan Women’s Network, representing unity and strength.

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1 comment

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