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Statement by Ms. Alison Davidian, Country Representative a.i. for UN Women in Afghanistan, on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, during the daily press briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 25 July 2022.
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On 22 June, at 01:30am, an earthquake of magnitude 5.9 struck the south-eastern provinces of Paktika and Khost in the Central Region of Afghanistan.
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The brunt of the pandemic has been borne by women and girls. Emerging evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded existing vulnerabilities faced by women and girls and threatened to further widen gender and socioeconomic inequalities. Yet, during this difficult time, women around the world have exhibited remarkable resilience in contributing to the response effort as well as economic recovery.
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I am gravely concerned by the Taliban's announcement that all women must cover their faces in public, that women should only leave their homes in cases of necessity, and that violations of this directive will lead to the punishment of their male relatives. Freedom of movement is a fundamental human right. It is an absolute prerequisite for women’s ability to exercise the full range of their rights and to be active participants in society.
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UNAMA is deeply concerned with today’s announcement by the Taliban de facto authorities that all women must cover their faces in public, that women should only leave their homes in cases of necessity, and that violations of this directive will lead to the punishment of their male relatives.
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Madam Maa Zenai stands proudly at the entrance to her brand-new shed. Inside is the small herd of cattle that has changed her life, thanks to a project that employed a ground-breaking partnership between IFAD and UN Women to empower rural women in China.
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Over 60 participants from government agencies, embassies, United Nations agencies, academia and business enterprises attended the dialogue, Biodiversity and Climate Change from a Gender Perspective. Over 320,000 other people participated via online livestreaming. Smriti Aryal, Country Representative of UN Women China, said that in order to strengthen the resilience of women to climate shocks and enhance their participation in climate action.
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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UN Women, the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women signed a letter of intent committing to strengthen their partnership to protect the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. The complex humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan is marked by gender-specific restrictions that directly impact the ability of women and girls to realize their rights. Afghan women and girls face unique vulnerabilities and risks as gender inequality is interwoven with conflict dynamics and humanitarian needs.
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Mursal Samadi* had worked as a prosecutor, independent investigator, and a civil society leader for more than 16 years in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over Kabul on 15 August. She remains in Afghanistan, advocating for the rights of Afghan women and girls.
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On 21 October 2021, UN Women and partners facilitated the participation of a delegation of Afghan women to speak at a series of events and high-level meetings at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security. The delegation included parliamentarians, women’s rights advocates, journalists, civil society leaders, and researchers.
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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.
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Naheed Farid was among many women leaders who left Afghanistan, fearing for their lives, as the Taliban took over in August 2021. Farid spoke at the UN recently, calling for international support to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and to safeguard women’s rights.
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Eleven Chinese businesses were granted Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Awards by UN Women China, in partnership with the EU Delegation to China. The award ceremony took place during the 2021 International Conference on Gender Equality and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The WEPs Awards celebrate the efforts of private-sector companies in addressing gender inequalities in the new normal of a post COVID-19 world.
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In an op-ed for the Global Governance Project, UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous writes: "The international community, including G20 leaders, have an opportunity to work together in unity to prevent the reversal of the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls and to work constructively to enable a more inclusive trajectory that will actively foster peace and resilience in Afghanistan – and the region."
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Alison Davidian, Deputy Representative for UN Women in Afghanistan, breaks down what women in Afghanistan need most right now, what UN Women is doing for women in the country, and how the international community can support Afghan women now.
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Hasina Safi served as Afghanistan's acting minister for women from May of 2020 until August 2021, and as Minister of Information and Culture before that. Ms. Safi has over 20 years’ experience in women development programs working with Afghan civil society organizations international organizations and UN agencies.
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When UN Women first began to consider the way that climate change was hitting rural women in China, it was Qinghai that first came to mind. A large, sparsely populated province stretched high across the Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai has seen an unprecedented jump in precipitation and extreme weather, wreaking havoc on rural livelihoods. Its rural labor force also has a largely female face, being around 70-80 per cent women.
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Women-owned businesses that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic are receiving support with recovery efforts from a new project jointly implemented by UN Women China and the All-China Women’s Federation.The project, Supporting Women to Recover from the Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19, was launched in Wuhan on 16 September. It is funded by China’s Rockcheck Puji Foundation. The project will target women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in two of the Chinese cities most-affected by the pandemic, Wuhan and Tianjin.
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From cooking and cleaning to taking care of children and the elderly, household care work is the backbone of thriving families, communities and economies. Yet many cultures traditionally have regarded men as the breadwinners and women as the caregivers, with unpaid care work their “natural responsibility”. In China, women spend around 2.5 times as much time as men on unpaid care work.
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“Women have a right to peaceful protest and to a life free of violence. In taking control of Afghanistan the Taliban authorities assume a duty to respect and protect these rights,” Pramila Patten said. “I am shocked and outraged by the images of women in Afghanistan being whipped, hit with shock batons and beaten simply for exercising their right to peaceful protest. I stand in solidarity with all Afghan women who are fighting for the respect of their fundamental rights.