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Celebrating International Women's Day in Afghanistan

Every year on 8th March, International Women's Day (IWD) celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

This year, we marked IWD by hosting a series of events in some of the most remote communities in Afghanistan, to celebrate the wonderful women we're working with, the men who support them, our staff who work closely with them, and the women across the world who empower them.


These events were held in local mosques and included speeches from religious leaders about the importance of women's rights, as well as giving the women a platform to talk of their own experiences.

Connecting women across the globe

To make this a truly international celebration of women, we had the very special opportunity to link our events up with a similar event hosted by Bristol Women's Voice, an organisation in Bristol that works to increase awareness of women’s rights and to make sure local services meet women’s needs.

We connected women across the globe and provided them with the opportunity to send messages to one another. By bridging the gap between them, they came together to celebrate each other, raise awareness against discrimination and bias, and stand for gender equality for each and every woman, everywhere. 


International Women's Day 2020 theme

This year’s IWD theme is Each for Equal - an equal world is an enabled world. Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world. Collectively, we can make change happen.

#IWD2020 #EachForEqual

Did you know?

IWD is one of the largest celebrations in Afghanistan that isn't religious. This may be surprising given that the country continues to be one of the most difficult places in the world to be a woman.

Over half the population lives below the poverty line and this hits women the hardest. Women and girls still face major barriers to education, employment, and participation in decision-making processes in their own homes and communities. Surveys reveal that 87% of Afghan women are illiterate and close to 90% of Afghan women and girls suffer from at least one form of abuse, including physical or psychological violence, and 70-80% face forced marriage - many before the age of 16.

Despite the many challenges they face, Afghan women hold the potential and determination to drive change. And they need our help to ensure they can achieve that potential.

How can you help?

Get involved and join our mission for gender equality in Afghanistan:

How are we helping?

We support women across Afghanistan to claim their economic, social and political rights and learn new skills, so that they can lift themselves out of poverty, build a better future for their families, and contribute to the development of their communities.

As a trusted presence with over 35 years of experience in the country, our staff are able to approach sensitive and complicated issues, such as family planning and women’s empowerment, even in some of the most remote villages.

With the support of UK Aid Direct and The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, we're currently running a large-scale project which includes:

  • Teaching illiterate women how to read and write.
  • Skills training and supporting women to set up their own businesses.
  • Promoting women’s rights from a culturally sensitive perspective.
  • Building women's engagement and ability in community governance.
  • Raising understanding of, and demand for, family planning and reproductive health.

By providing vulnerable women like Basira with the knowledge, resources, and agency to have greater influence in the household and community decisions that affect their lives and their family, they can drive both poverty reduction and gender equality.

Donate today to support women transform tomorrow