Afghan women can become agents of change

Rula Ghani, the First Lady of Afghanistan, says Afghan women are resilient and should be in leadership positions in her country.

First Lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani at the Presidential Palace, Kabul, September 2018.
© UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

KABUL, Afghanistan – Rula Ghani, the First Lady of Afghanistan, believes women in her country are resilient and should be in leadership positions.

“If we really want to bring change … We need to recognize women are the agents of change and that we should really integrate them into any kind of project we do,” Ghani said in a recent interview in the Afghan capital Kabul.

“They should be in leadership positions. They should represent their families. They are the ones who carry the whole the whole burden on their shoulders,” she added.

Nearly four decades of conflict have made Afghans one of the largest displaced populations in the world, with at least eight million people living in neighbouring Iran and Pakistan and other countries.

Additionally, there are over one million children, women and men displaced within Afghanistan. Despite the great challenges that they face, Ghani believes Afghan women have untapped potential, and should be in leadership positions.

“I find Afghan women pretty resilient. You can see them now they're working. Walking in the streets head high with a purpose,” she said.

“They're in a lot of professions. They're doctors nurses, lawyers, judges, prosecutors in the government. We have some of them are ministers we have quite a few deputy ministers.”

The First Lady has gained recognition for her advocacy for women, children and the most vulnerable in Afghanistan, among them the millions forcibly displaced by nearly four decades of conflict.

She is in Geneva this week to take part in the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, where she is a keynote speaker at a side event on professional training for Afghan women.