By Rita Manchanda

Women’s Groups in India, Pakistan Have a Role to Play in Afghanistan’s Reconstruction

With the withdrawal of American forces from the war-torn country, India and Pakistan will have a greater role to play in Afghanistan to prevent any further chaos in the region. If ever Gayatri Spivak’s narrative of ‘white men saving brown women from brown men’ rang true it was in the discourse of ‘liberating’ Afghan women, mobilised to morally justify bombing a country continents away and of plunging its people into a war that “they did not ask for”. In four decades of violent strife as intra and international players laid waste Afghanistan’s land and society, Afghan women’s protection and rights were weaponised in the geopolitical manoeuvrings of powerful global and regional actors, driven by ideological and strategic interests.


Interview by Frank van Lierde, corporate journalist at Cordaid


So far, the historic peace talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban in Doha are essentially a men’s affair. Yet women’s rights and women’s achievements of the past 2 decades, are at stake. “The real work is not in Doha. Doha is the gate to end a brutal war. But peace is not the absence of war,” says prominent activist Zarqa Yaftali. Ms. Yaftali is one of the trailblazing women’s rights defenders Cordaid works with to enhance an inclusive peace process. She won the 2019 UNDP N-Peace Award. In August this year, President Ashraf Ghani appointed her to Afghanistan’s newly established High Council for National Reconciliation to facilitate intra-Afghan peace talks. She is one of only eight women and very few civil society activists in that council.


By Stephenie Foster

What’s important to know about women, gender norms, and terrorism

Effective counterterrorism depends on understanding the unique relationships among women, gender norms, and violent extremism. Those who develop counterterrorism plans and strategies must have an informed view of women’s varied roles in the “terrorism landscape” and the gender dynamics of recruitment, or their work will be less effective. That women and girls are targets of extremist violence and terrorism, including the use of sexual violence and slavery to terrorize, suppress, and demoralize entire communities, has become well known by the international community. Common examples include the Islamic State’s terror campaign against Yazidis, particularly women, as well as Boko Haram’s kidnapping of girls in northern Nigeria.


By Swarna Rajagopalan

Women, global norms and local rights

The annual meeting of governmental representatives that is dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment - Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) - as scheduled to start on March 9, 2020, in a landmark session that has now been truncated because of the coronavirus. Civil society members usually observe the official meetings and also have their own parallel programmes, as has become the norm with UN gatherings in recent decades. This year’s CSW meeting occurs in a year of many landmarks: just over 40 years of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 25 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted; 20 years after the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1325; and five years since the Sustainable Development Goals were formulated.


By Massouda Kohistani

Fears of Men from Strong Women in Society

The country with more than 99 % Muslim,  that the majority of the population are Muslim,  but in most societal norms such as social behavior, business activities, political issues, and many other things, people act upon and following masculinities form. People have never separated themselves from the traditions chain both aware and unaware.  Even most of those people who live outside this border are not far from that tradition. Particularly patriarchy procedure influence has more authority and power that women are obeying from it too.


By Zarqa Yaftali

Fear and Hope of women on peace process

For more than four decades of violence in Afghanistan, women’s social and political presence and activities are affected at most. Therefore, with critical political changes in the country, what concerns majority of women is less hope for future and more fear from worsening of the situation furthermore? Now that peace agreement is getting close between United States and Taliban group, the Afghan women are stack between happiness for the end of war and concern for losing limitation of their activities, and losing the current freedom they have achieved so far.


By Swarna Rajagopalan

Sitting down to unaffected dialogue

Current events have polarised social circles and even families like never before. Spaces for small talk and everyday updates, from dining tables to WhatsApp groups, feel like a minefield as we struggle to speak our minds but also preserve relationships. To move forward, dialogue is essential among political groups and us. If anything, the dialogue in our homes, canteens and colleges matters more because it shapes the bedrock of values that will inform how we vote and act in the future.


By Swarna Rajagopalan

The duty to protect each other

A thread of questions and debates on citizenship and justice connects Myanmar, India and The Gambia. The primary purpose of the United Nations is the maintenance of peace and security through collective action as necessary for “the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace...” Between 7 April and 15 July 1994, a genocidal war took place in Rwanda. The global community ignored evidence of planning and early warning indicators. In the aftermath of the slaughter, policymakers and scholars agonised over their failure to prevent the genocide from taking place.

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