Speaking at “The Status of Women is the Status of Democracy” event in Washington on Tuesday, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken lauded the courage and perseverance of women in Afghanistan and Iran who have been fighting for their right to freedom. Despite the Taliban’s efforts to erase women from daily life in Afghanistan, Blinken commended the women for their ongoing protests and documentation of human rights abuses.
“In Afghanistan – in the face of the Taliban’s daily efforts to erase them from daily life – women are still protesting. They’re still finding ways to document human rights abuses. They are still fighting for a brighter future for their country,” US Secretary of State said.
“In Iran, courageous women are marching in the streets, under great threat to themselves, to call for “woman, life, and freedom,” he added.
Blinken expressed the United States’ solidarity with these women and pledged to support women’s full, free, and equal participation around the world.
While highlighting the challenges faced by women in autocratic regimes, Blinken also acknowledged that “in far too many parts of the world, women and girls still do not have equal opportunities to study and work. Women journalists, advocates, politicians, and others are subject to persistent online harassment and abuse.”
In contrast to Blinken’s praise for women’s struggle for freedom, the Taliban’s recent rule in Afghanistan has seen unprecedented restrictions on women’s rights, including the right to education and work.
In Taliban ruled Afghanistan, women are also deprived of their right to peaceful protest. Recently, the group utilized violent means to suppress a women’s protest in Kabul on Sunday. The women gathered on the streets to advocate for justice, freedom, and women’s rights, and as a result of the crackdown, three protesting women were detained in jail for several hours.