USAmbassador Ross Wilson, Charge d’Affaires, U.
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S. Embassy in Kabul and Dr. Tina Dooley-Jones, Mission Director, U.S. Agency for International Development in a statement jointly said that Afghanistan remains one of the world’s most challenging places to be a woman—with high maternal mortality, endemic gender-based violence, and limited access to employment opportunities, education, and health care.
“Afghanistan had its share of historic firsts for women in 2020. A long-overdue breakthrough to put more women in positions of authority saw 21 women appointed deputy provincial governors following a July 2020 Presidential decree mandating women deputy governors in all 34 provinces,” the statement said.
According to the statement, gains made over the last 20 years have been threatened by the world-altering COVID-19 outbreak, high levels of violence and targeted killings of women, and uncertainties in the peace negotiations.
“Women’s inclusion in many spheres is challenged, and a 97 percent increase in gender-based violence has occurred over the last twelve months.”
The statement reads: “This year, as the world celebrates women’s achievements, we must collectively challenge those who undermine or dismiss the often-selfless efforts of women, especially Afghan women who continue to be marginalized. #ChooseToChallenge has been more than just a campaign slogan—it’s a call to action. It’s a call to speak directly to those who oppose women exercising their rights as full and equal citizens. Our actions can isolate destructive agendas, societal discrimination, and institutional barriers that work against women’s full participation in society.”
The US officials said that they celebrated incredible achievements and contributions made by women all around the world, including in Afghanistan, on International Women’s Day that we observe on March 8 every year.
“Those commemorations remind us that work remains if we are to truly achieve equality. The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 was “Choose to Challenge: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.”
Since 2002, the United States Government has invested significant resources to empower women and advance the participation and rights of women and girls around the world and Afghanistan.
The statement added that the U.S. government’s strategy for women’s empowerment in Afghanistan, developed and implemented largely through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), focuses on expanding access to quality health and education, creating sustainable economic opportunities, and advocating for women’s rights.