CU Boulder expert weighs in on future of women's rights in Afghanistan

Fleeing Afghanistan refugees
Posted at 9:29 AM, Aug 20, 2021

BOULDER, Colo. - As the Taliban once again takes control of Afghanistan, a CU Boulder expert on women's organizations in the region said Afghan women are in danger of losing many of the rights and freedoms they’ve gained over the past two decades.

“The gains that women have made in some cases were contingent on international aid and influence, and so as that goes away, women’s ability to have that influence and participate in public, political, and economic life will be challenged,” Jennifer Fluri, a feminist political geographer and geography professor at CU Boulder said.

Fluri said the fate of women’s rights is unclear. But in the past, the Taliban banned women from participating in civil society.

“Women in Afghanistan under the Taliban weren’t allowed to leave their homes without full coverings and being escorted by a male relative. They couldn’t work, couldn’t go to school. There wasn’t many, if any opportunities for women other than remaining at home,” Fluri said. “So many women are reliving the trauma that they lived through in the late 90s, particularly women that remember that time.”

When the United States and other countries stepped in after forcing the Taliban out of the country, for the first time in a long-time women began going to school, became members of parliament and worked for the government.

“Now that the government has fallen, what happens to the women that were in parliament, that were in civil society organizations, that women led?” Fluri asked.

Fluri said right now, no one truly knows what will happen next. But when the Taliban was in control last time, many brave women fought back.

Fluri suspects women will eventually organize again, and fight against oppression.

For ways to help people in Afghanistan, click here.