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A Disaster for Afghanistan's Girls and Women

Few things have moved the international community as much as the events in Afghanistan in recent weeks. The US withdrawal and the Taliban's rapid assumption of control over the country will very much affect women's lives and rights: "how women's rights will be defined is in the hands of the Taliban and their interpretation of Sharia law", writes Eirliani Abdul Rahman in her Op-Ed for Newsweek.

In fact, the situation for girls and women has improved in recent years, with the proportion of girls in primary education rising from less than 10 percent in 2003 to 33 percent in 2017, and the proportion of women in political responsibility has also risen, compared to almost none in public positions during the previous Taliban rule. But how that will develop now is an open question. For despite the progress, Afghan women still had to fight for their position in society.

“A 2019 study by UN Women and partners showed that only 15 percent of Afghan men think women should be allowed to work outside the home after marriage. Two-thirds of men feel that Afghan women have too many rights. The same study observed that male Afghan powerbrokers "resent quotas for women in public shuras (assemblies) and in parliament“, writes Eirliani in her article. The US has observed the progress critically. There has been an endorsement of Sharia law and a stronger conservative trend. “About half of women languishing in prison and 95 percent of girls in juvenile detention are detained for "moral crimes" such as having sex outside of marriage. Female rape victims have been murdered by their families in "honour killings"”.

Many women in rural areas have seen little improvement in their daily lives in recent years. That is why Eirliani writes: “Given entrenched cultural norms, the US and the international community should demand that the new Taliban regime uphold the basic rights of Afghan women as defined by the Afghan constitution, and to abide by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which the Parliament of Afghanistan ratified in 2003”.

You can read Eirliani's full opinion on how to limit the disaster for Afghanistan's girls and women here.

About Eirliani Abdul Rahman

Eirliani is the co-founder of YAKIN, an NGO working in the field of child rights and child protection issues and she continuously aims at raising awareness for survivors of sexual child abuse, the consequences of child labor and mental health issues. 

Published on September 6, 2021.

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Eirliani Abdul Rahman

Eirliani is a student in the doctoral program in public health at Harvard University where she is a Prajna Leadership and Julio Frenk DrPH Fellow. She is a co-founder of YAKIN (Youth, Adult Survivors & Kin In Need), an NGO working in the field of child rights and child protection issues, a Chatham House Member
a Red Dot Foundation-Safecity Board Member and a member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council.

In September 2015, the #FullStop to #childsexualabuse campaign that Eirliani led on behalf of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi reached 16 million people over six weeks. She won the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Award the same year.

She is an award-winning author. She was lead editor of "The Demographic Dividend and the Power of Youth. Voices from the Global Diplomacy Lab", a peer-reviewed compendium of essays on the demographic dividend (Anthem Press 2021). Eirliani also contributed a case study to the medical textbook Essentials of Global Health, co-edited by Babulal Sethia, Past President and Global Health Lead of the Royal Society of Medicine (Elsevier 2018). The book won first prize under the Public Health category in the 2019 British Medical Association book awards. She is co-author of "Survivors: Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Abuse" (Marshall Cavendish 2017). Now in its third print run, the book won joint 2nd Prize at the inaugural Golden Doors Award in September 2020. She edited Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi's book "Will for Children" (Prabhat Prakashan 2016).

Eirliani worked in Singapore’s Foreign Service from 2005 to 2015, serving in Berlin as First Secretary (Political) and then in Delhi as Political Counsellor. From June 2015 to November 2017 she was a member of the Advisory Council of the Global Diplomacy Lab. She is a Fellow of the London-based Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

A graduate of the London School of Economics and Warwick University, Eirliani was a British Council Pathfinder scholar. She speaks English, Malay and German fluently, and has rudimentary understanding of Arabic, French, Hindi, Mandarin and Russian.

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Read more about Eirliani in her latest blog article. You can also read her articles about her polar expedition and about human trafficking and learn more about her workactivism and contribution to the Gender Alliance.

Eirliani Abdul Rahman

Eirliani is a student in the doctoral program in public health at Harvard University where she is a Prajna Leadership and Julio Frenk DrPH Fellow. She is a co-founder of YAKIN (Youth, Adult Survivors & Kin In Need), an NGO working in the field of child rights and child protection issues, a Chatham House Member
a Red Dot Foundation-Safecity Board Member and a member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council.

In September 2015, the #FullStop to #childsexualabuse campaign that Eirliani led on behalf of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi reached 16 million people over six weeks. She won the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Award the same year.

She is an award-winning author. She was lead editor of "The Demographic Dividend and the Power of Youth. Voices from the Global Diplomacy Lab", a peer-reviewed compendium of essays on the demographic dividend (Anthem Press 2021). Eirliani also contributed a case study to the medical textbook Essentials of Global Health, co-edited by Babulal Sethia, Past President and Global Health Lead of the Royal Society of Medicine (Elsevier 2018). The book won first prize under the Public Health category in the 2019 British Medical Association book awards. She is co-author of "Survivors: Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Abuse" (Marshall Cavendish 2017). Now in its third print run, the book won joint 2nd Prize at the inaugural Golden Doors Award in September 2020. She edited Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi's book "Will for Children" (Prabhat Prakashan 2016).

Eirliani worked in Singapore’s Foreign Service from 2005 to 2015, serving in Berlin as First Secretary (Political) and then in Delhi as Political Counsellor. From June 2015 to November 2017 she was a member of the Advisory Council of the Global Diplomacy Lab. She is a Fellow of the London-based Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

A graduate of the London School of Economics and Warwick University, Eirliani was a British Council Pathfinder scholar. She speaks English, Malay and German fluently, and has rudimentary understanding of Arabic, French, Hindi, Mandarin and Russian.

......................................................................................................................................................

Read more about Eirliani in her latest blog article. You can also read her articles about her polar expedition and about human trafficking and learn more about her workactivism and contribution to the Gender Alliance.

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