From Gender Apartheid to Equal Rights: Afghan Women Won’t Go Back

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Rebecca Wagner talks with Afghan children while delivering school supplies, clothing items and toys. (Spc. Jeanita C. Pisachubbe, 4th CAB Public Affairs for The U.S. Army / Creative Commons)

This weekend marks 18 years of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan—one that has transformed the landscape of women’s lives in the region. U.S. forces have played a pivotal role in liberating the nation from the grasp of the Taliban, an extremist militia, and women have seen many gains, from improving health outcomes to expanding opportunities for education and political involvement, as a result.

But those gains remain fragile—and the looming Trump administration threat of a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan puts their lives at risk. What’s worse, women have thus far been denied, under the Trump administration, their fair seat at any peace-making tables, and the president’s men have attempted to negotiate with terrorists instead of working with the democratically-elected Afghan government.

Ms. has been consistently covering the fight for Afghan women’s rights, and amplifying the voices of women fighting for equality and democracy there on the frontlines. Below are some of the major pieces we’ve published in the last two decades, but you can find a more comprehensive archive here.


Carmen Rios is the Managing Digital Editor at Ms. and has spent over a decade raising hell in feminist media. Her work has been published by outlets like the Atlantic's CityLab, BuzzFeed, ElixHER, Feministing, Girlboss, Mic, MEL and Everyday Feminism; and she also spent six years writing and editing for Autostraddle, was a founding blogger and activist with the SPARK Movement and was the inaugural managing editor of THE LINE Campaign blog. Carmen is additionally a co-founder of Webby-nominated Argot Magazine.