Gender Alert No. 1 - Women’s rights in Afghanistan: Where are we now?



The purpose of this Gender Alert is to document and analyze the impact of the rapidly evolving Afghan context on women’s rights and gender equality. Successive decades of war, annual cycles of natural disasters, the worst drought on record in 27 years, an ongoing pandemic, and deep-rooted poverty have left over half the population of Afghanistan in critical need of humanitarian assistance. While all population groups across the country have been drastically impacted by this changed context, the consequences for women and girls have been most significant and cannot be ignored. The contest around gender norms remains at the centre of the political, peace and security landscape in Afghanistan, putting women and girls at the frontlines of this crisis. This Gender Alert seeks to ensure that the specific gender dynamics of the crisis are documented and analyzed.

This Alert focuses on developments since the Taliban take-over of Kabul on 15 August 2021, shedding light on the impact of the current contextual dynamics on the rights of women and girls. The brief focuses on drawing out the gender trends across key thematic areas—work, education, health care, protection, freedom of movement, participation in public and political life—analyzing how changing political dynamics are impacting gender equality. Overall, the Gender Alert finds a concerning and rapid shift to normalizing discriminatory gender norms and a general curtailment of Afghan women and girls’ fundamental rights and freedoms.' The evidence presented in this Gender Alert is clear: despite the Taliban’s assurances that women’s rights will be respected according to Islam, women and girls are seeing a rapid reversal of their rights.