MEDIA ADVISORY: Afghan women to voice their priorities and concerns in the context of the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security


On Thursday, 21 October, the UN Security Council will convene its annual Open Debate on Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, the landmark resolution that recognized the impact of conflict on women and girls and the importance of women’s leadership in peacebuilding and peacemaking.

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic added to the evidence on the effectiveness of women’s leadership at the highest levels of public life, women are continuously marginalised in all spheres of the society, have been pushed out of the workforce, and subjected to a surge of violence across the world. This has a negative impact on the collective ability to prevent and recover from crises and prevents women’s meaningful contribution to international peace and security. The juxtaposition of violence targeting women and their rights, and their extreme marginalization and exclusion still encapsulates the women, peace and security agenda in 2021.

According to the latest UN Secretary-General’s report on Women, Peace and Security, historically, conflict-affected countries spend two to three times more on defence than on health, whereas the opposite is true in more stable countries. For instance, military spending in Afghanistan has exceeded one-third of the total government spending over the past decade, compared to 3 per cent of government spending devoted to social protection.

On 15 August, the Taliban took over Kabul. While the commitments to inclusion and women’s rights remains part of the public discourse of the de facto authorities, the reality on the ground shows significant reversals on women’s rights. Women’s rights are a critical litmus test for the de facto authorities to demonstrate its reformed outlook. It is also a test for how the international community and the UN will shape their engagement vis-à-vis the de facto authorities. Ensuring that Afghan women directly influence all discussions where decisions are being taken, at national and international level, is critical to building an inclusive Afghanistan where all communities thrive and are represented.

In the context of the Open Debate, UN Women together with partners will host a number of events that will bring together Afghan women leaders and women human rights defenders with key global actors on topics relevant to Afghanistan’s future, to advocate for an inclusive and peaceful Afghanistan that upholds the human rights of all.


Launch of the 2021/22 Global Women, Peace and Security Index

Date: Tuesday, 19 October, 2021
Time: 8.30 - 9.45 a.m. (ET)

The 2021/22 WPS Index provides a comprehensive measure of women's status across 170 countries, featuring new countries, investigation of pandemic impacts on women’s inclusion and security, sub-national rankings for Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US, and an innovative new index capturing the status of displaced women in five African nations. Expert panellists will discuss global and regional trends, persistent and newly revealed gaps, and how the Index is a critical tool for policymakers, practitioners, and activists alike.


Ambassador Mona Juul, Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations
Jeni Klugman, Managing Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security
Päivi Kannisto, Chief of UN Women’s Peace, Security and Humanitarian Unit
Daphne Jayasinghe, International Rescue Committee Director of Policy, Europe
Mariam Safi, Founding Director of the Organization for Policy and Research Studies (DROPS)
Torunn L. Tryggestad, Deputy Director, PRIO & Director, PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security

Register here for the virtual event.


UN Media Noon Briefing

Date: Wednesday, 20 October, 2021
Time: 12 – 1p.m. (ET)

Naheed Fareed, former Parliamentarian in Afghanistan; Mariam Safi, Executive Director, Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies (DROPS); and Caitlin Williscroft, UN Women a.i. lead of Women, Peace and Security Programme in Afghanistan will join the UN Secretary-General’s Spokesperson’s Office to brief the press on the situation in Afghanistan regarding women's rights.

Live webcast on UN Web TV.


Open Debate on Women peace and Security

Date: Thursday, 21 October, 2021
Time: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Under the presidency of Kenya, the UN Security Council will convene its annual Open Debate on Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. The meeting is an opportunity for Member States to demonstrate the political will of reversing the upward trajectory of military spending and investing more on human security to fully address the challenges and gaps across all areas of the women and peace and security agenda.

The Security Council will be briefed by:

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General;
Sima Bahous, UN Women Executive Director;
Celia Umenza, Colombian indigenous environmental activist.

The open debate will be live webcast on UN Web TV.


To request interviews with the following Afghan women leaders and women human rights defenders, please email

Fawzia Koofi, member of the Republic of Afghanistan’s team in the negotiations with the Taliban, and first woman Deputy Speaker of Parliament
Naheed Fareed, former Parliamentarian, Parliament of Afghanistan
Mariam Safi, Executive Director, Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies (DROPS)
Anisa Shaheed, Journalist, former anchor of TOLO News – leading news agency in Afghanistan
Asila Wardak, Founder Afghan Women’s Network
Sofia Ramyar, former Executive Director, Afghans for Progressive Thinking

For more information, stories of women peace leaders and new data on Women, Peace and Security visit:; [live on 20 October]

Join the conversation on Twitter @UN_Women using the hashtag #WomenPeacePower and #UNSCR1325