‘Dark Prison Mirrors the Dark Future of Afghan Women’: A Firsthand Account of a Former Taliban Prisoner

Since the fall of Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021, Afghan women—many of whom dedicated their lives and careers to working for equality—have experienced a systematic campaign of violence and subjugation. Many took to the streets to protest, and in turn have been beaten, arrested, tortured and murdered. This firsthand account of Mursal Ayar’s life and arrest is a powerful reminder of our common humanity, and the duty we all share to protect the world’s most vulnerable—yet remarkable—activists. 

“After those 13 days, I am like a little girl who is afraid of the night. I sleep next to my mother. The Taliban have not only taken my country from me; they have taken everything from me. My peace, my dreams, my hope and courage. I left the Taliban prison, but I could not regain what I have lost forever.”

Happily Never After: False Homeownership Notions Are Increasing the Gender Wealth Gap

The “American Dream” notion that homeownership will provide an express route to happily-ever-after is fueling record home prices and exacerbating gender inequities. We need to wake up from this nightmare.

If current real estate trends continue, a woman’s place will no longer be in the home, and not because of feminist gains. Rather, she’ll be completely priced out.

Will Ukraine Bury Feminist Foreign Policies or Will It Reveal Their Power?

In Ukraine, once again, the rules of conscription and refuge are following a familiar pattern: Men to the front, women and children to shelter, inside and outside the country. This highlights how conventional our expectations still are when it comes to war.

Now is the time to insist on gender equality at any future or current negotiating tables and centering the voices of those who have been most directly affected by conflict. But the proponents of feminist foreign policies also need to ensure that an understanding of the gendered implications of this conflict informs the policies that are pursued today.

The Feminist Peace Initiative Urges Intersectional Feminist Principles in U.S. Foreign Policy

The Feminist Peace Initiative, co-founded by MADRE, Women Cross DMZ and the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, challenges and reimagines a U.S. foreign policy in the interests of all people and the planet.

“The conditions people flee—economic, violence—are push factors often created by U.S. policies, and exacerbated by the climate catastrophe, a result of corporate extraction or militarized pollution.”

U.S. Military’s Male-Dominated Culture Harms More Than Just Women

Major gender gaps persist in the U.S. armed forces, negatively impacting operational effectiveness, military culture and compliance with international law, according to a report released by the Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security.

To ensure women’s meaningful participation, the report suggests that women must be promoted to leadership positions and their input must be valued. To do so, the military must adopt better and more complete childcare and parental leave policies and decouple physical fitness standards from advancement.

Nobel Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee Fights for the “Unknown Women” Leading Nonviolent Protests in the Face of Civil War

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Leymah Gbowee talks about her experiences with war and journey to being a peacemaker.

“I did what I had to do, at a time that was necessary. I wasn’t looking for any accolades. I would do it again, even if there wasn’t a Nobel Peace Prize. … That prize, that has my name on it, says we recognize the role of grassroots, rural, community women as nurturers and sustainers of their society.”