The Mobilisation of Women’s Movements in Iran and Afghanistan
inInsights, Past Events, Peace & Security, Social Equity
From Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai to Susan B. Anthony, women have played crucial catalytic roles across history in the fight for universal basic freedoms, across society and gender.
Today, women continue to lead the battle front for human rights. As we witness parallel struggles for basic women’s rights and broader human rights in the face of repressive governments in neighbouring Iran and Afghanistan, how do women in crisis settings galvanise broader civil society to fight for universal human rights?
As we mark International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, join Human Rights Watch’s Next Gen community in partnership with The Conduit, to explore gender inequality, women’s empowerment and how women mobilise broader human movements.
Sahar Fetrat is an Assistant Researcher with the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch. Sahar is a feminist activist born in Afghanistan, lived in Iran and Pakistan as a young refugee during the first Taliban regime. Sahar encountered feminist activism in her teenage years in Kabul and decided to incorporate her feminist views into storytelling through documentary filmmaking and writing. In 2013, Sahar’s documentary on street harassment, “Do Not Trust My Silence,” won the first prize in Universo-Corto Elba Film Festival. Sahar has previously worked with the education unit of UNESCO in Afghanistan, advocating for literacy education for women around the country. She has gained firsthand experience working with children who have been victims and survivors of war through volunteering with the Solace for the Children initiative.
Rothna Begum is a senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. She focuses on discrimination and violence against women and girls in the Middle East and North Africa region, including leading the research and advocacy on the abuse and exploitation of migrant domestic workers, domestic violence against women and girls, child marriage, sexual violence in conflict, discriminatory family laws, and male guardianship policies. Rothna also led the advocacy for Human Rights Watch on a new global International Labour Organization treaty relating to violence and harassment at work, which was adopted in June 2019. Rothna is also, in her individual capacity, a member of the ILO Regional Office for Arab States’ Migration Advisory Group.
Tamana Ayazi is a passionate champion of freedom of thought and human rights who uses storytelling as a tool to advocate for equality and positive change. She became a National Geographic Explorer in 2018, and in 2022 began assisting Amnesty International in its research focused on women and children in Afghanistan. Ayazi’s film credits include the 2019 Academy Award-winning short documentary Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl). Her first feature-length documentary, In Her Hands, co-directed by Marcel Mettelsiefen, premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival in September 2022, won the Audience Award at the 2022 Camden International Film Festival and will be available to stream on Netflix on November 16, 2022.
Katie Polglase is an Investigative Producer based at CNN’s London Bureau. Polglase began her CNN career as a news desk intern and then worked as a freelance producer, before joining CNN’s full-time staff as Investigative Researcher, then Investigative Producer. She is part of a team that has brought open-source investigative journalism to CNN for the first time. Most recently, she worked on CNN’s coverage of the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, and helped drive multiple investigations into Russia’s war on Ukraine. She has contributed to the CNN Emmy nominated investigation into child abuse in the Catholic church. Polglase won the Association for International Broadcasting’s (AIB) Impact Award and the AIB’s Award for Investigative Documentary TV and Video for a year-long investigation into child abuse in the Catholic church.
About Next Generation Community (Next Gen):
Next Gen is a group of young professionals and students in London who actively engage with Human Rights Watch and support its work through raising awareness, increasing engagement on human rights issues, and empowering the next generation of human rights advocates to stand up for human rights through digital campaigns, in-person and virtual events, and targeted communications.
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