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By Noorjahan Akbar

'Given all the obvious risks of child marriage, why does it still continue?

There are many reasons for the prevalence of child marriage in Afghanistan. Lack of security and poverty are the two reasons most used to explain selling little girls, but the main reason for this tradition is business flavored with misogyny. To examine why child marriage continues to happen, this paper studies a few cases....'


By Noorjahan Akbar

Update - 18th January 2012

"Today we visited Sahar Gul again. She was feeling better.

Two therapists talk to her daily to help her recover emotionally and mentally. We talked to her, joked with her and applied nail polish to her new nails. She has seen her nails pretty after six months of torture during which her nails were pulled out of her fingers."


Statement from Young Women for Change, Afghan feminist youth movement for equality:

"It is hard to reason anything with a mother who has lost her son. However, if we are united, we can help her....

Don’t you see people feeding others on the day of Ashura? When they feed them, they don’t ask, if they are Shia or Sunni."


Anita Haidary - co-founder of Young Women for Change in Afghanistan - talks about the future:

"I strongly believe that movement and change has to come from within the society.

 I never stopped believing that it is possible.

I want to use film to get our messages across. I truly believe that YWC is the voice for every Afghan."


Anita Haidary - co-founder of Young Women for Change in Afghanistan - talks about her childhood:

"I couldn't live the way I wanted to....

I got in a lot of trouble for fighting for freedom of speech in class, correcting teachers, speaking out against imposing religious ideas from my teachers and fighting for my grades.

I was tired of hearing my teachers saying because you are a girl; you can’t do this and that."


In June 2011, Afghan women hit the international headlines by taking part in global street protests against harassment.

The public walk was organised by Young Women for Change, a non-profit organisation recently set up by two young activists, Noorjahan Akbar and Anita Haidary, to engage youth in the fight for gender equality in Afghanistan.

Safeworld's Clara Boxall asked Noorjahan about her work in Afghanistan:

"We arrange public lectures on women in the society, using Islam and the law to prove that street harassment is not related to women’s clothing, and is rather a backlash against women’s participation in the society and it needs to stop..."


21-yr-old Gulnaz reported her rape & resulting pregnancy. 
She was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The European Union filmed her story but withdrew it because of political sensitivity.

Gulnaz is now free following international pressure.

However, to 'preserve honour', she agreed to marry her rapist...


By Nushin Arbabzadah: 'It seemed to me that honor killings were a method of male-on-male peer pressure -- women served as tools by which to control a man's standing and reputation...'


March 2011: By Nushin Arbabzadah - "Gender solidarity is something that has yet to emerge in a traditional society where women have internalised the male values of clan solidarity and political rivalry...


Oct 2011: By Lys Anzia:- 'Oxfam warns that women’s “hard-won gains remain fragile.” Numerous gains have begun to see reversals says Oxfam’s recent October report...'


Oct 2012: Clara Boxall interviews Noorjahan Akbar - "A lack of judicial and legal support for abused women and recent regulations on women shelters make it even harder for women to seek help and protection..."

I Support Afghan Women

October 2011: Safe World for Women is a partner in a multi-agency campaign to ensure Afghan women's voices are heard at an international peace conference in Bonn to decide the future of the country.