Afghan women have made remarkable progress in the last two decades, from increasing their financial independence to securing property rights and reaching leadership positions in the civil service.
Today, around 16 percent of senior civil servants are female. Women hold more than a quarter of parliamentary seats, an average higher than in other low-income countries.
Since 2001, the Government of Afghanistan and its partners have made it a priority to advance women’s economic and social empowerment.
On International Women’s Day 2021, these five videos showcase the resilience, strength, and ingenuity of Afghan women—and offer hope and a lesson in courage to women all over the world.
Mahboba and thousands of other Afghan women have started small businesses and become financially independent thanks to the National Horticultural and Livestock Project (NHLP). Mahboba established a greenhouse near Kabul and now sells canned vegetables in her little shop. She can now support her family and also trains other women to develop their businesses.
Zia Jan's living conditions have improved since she received her legal property ownership documents from the Afghan government. Afghanistan's laws give women equal rights to own land and property, but many Afghan women are deprived of their property rights. The Land Administration Project, supported by the World Bank and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), has helped thousands of Afghan women lay legal claims to their properties.
In a rural Afghan village near Kabul, an Afghan woman fights for her fellow female villagers' right to education and teaches them how to read and write. Nafisa Nikzad, who is also the Deputy head of a Community Development Council, has convinced male villagers to allow their female relatives to become literate and teaches literacy courses herself.
In the last two decades, Afghan women have made progress in reaching leadership positions within Afghanistan's civil service. Farzana Yousofi is one of them. She received a scholarship from a project supported by the World Bank and is now working at the Ministry of Finance in Afghanistan.
Hundreds of Afghan women can now live their dreams of having a professional career thanks to the Higher Education Development Project, supported by the World Bank and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). Zarmina Payenda received training and equipment through the project and is now General Manager at the Kabul Medical University.