Afghanistan remains a challenging environment for women, who at the same time constitute the most powerful resource of positive change making in the country. Despite rising education levels and a steady increase in female university graduates, women continue to be substantially and structurally underrepresented in the Afghan work force as well as on all decision making levels, and face high risks of exploitation at the workplace.
Empowering and encouraging Afghan women in their role as changemakers is hence a key effort in FES Afghanistan’s work towards social justice and inclusion. This workshop series, facilitated by the “The Philia Project”, an international team of trainers and consultants specialized on peer-coaching methods in fragile contexts such as Afghanistan or Nigeria, is part of FES Afghanistan Young Leaders Forum, albeit the only activity in this context currently accessible to women only and of true cross-generational nature.
Bringing female young leaders at different stages in their careers but also private lives together, helps creating a sustainable network of peers and mentors among Afghanistan’s rising female voices. Among the attendees were entrepreneurs, government officials, researchers, civil society and trade union activists, media representatives, and a member of the Wolesi Jirga.
This year, one theme that had been stressed particularly was the economic (self-)empowerment of Afghan women. A showcase presentation by Nahid Amadi and Hasina Haidari of the Herat-based “Code to Inspire”-Initiative made a strong case for linking private sector development in the technology sector to female economic and societal empowerment. In a similar way, the participants discussed with Microfinance expert and member of the Supreme Council of Afghanistan’s Central Bank, Katrin Fakiri, about how microcredits can help women to enter local markets, boost their societal position and which are the major challenges that still need to be addressed.