Safia Ferozi is an Afghani Pilot, in a place where women simply don’t become pilots. I am humbled, amazed, and inspired by her leadership and her bravery. Ms. Ferozi was a refugee in Pakistan after her family fled from Kabul during the Civil War 1990s, and she returned to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. Now she is part of a small Air Force fighting the Taliban insurgency. Not only is she a female pilot in a place that is deeply conservative and, frankly, anti-feminist, but she is also married and a working mother. (NBC News).
Women in Afghanistan are continuing to make strides, though they face discrimination, sexual harassment, forced and child marriage, and very severe restrictions on working and schooling outside the home. Traditional justice systems continue to work against women, and 87% of women are subjected to physical, sexual or psychological violence during their lifetimes. But, as Ms. Ferozi is proving, they are making gains! More women hold positions of power than ever before, women’s participation in the workforce has now increased to an all-time high of 19% of the population, and now more than 57% of the female population lives within a one-hour walk of a medical facility which is enabling more women to access health services. (UN Women).
Clearly, there is still a lot of work to be done to assist women in Afghanistan in their fight for equality. When searching for organizations that are specifically working on women’s rights in Afghanistan, sadly, not much comes up. I found three organizations that looked good – but two of them are not rated on Charity Navigator, and one received 3 out of 4 stars so I am disinclined to recommend them. Several additional searches on Google and within Charity Navigator itself did not turn up anything better. Surely we can do better than this!
If you know of any fabulous organizations working on women’s rights in Afghanistan, I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, I am very happy that I am a member and supporter of the National Organization for Women here in the United States. I hope to find out more about providing services that NOW provides here in the U.S. in a similar fashion in Afghanistan and other areas of the world where women’s rights are severely infringed upon, more so than here in the U.S.
Thank you Ms. Ferozi for providing us with such a wonderful example of working to break down barriers for women. Thank you for your bravery – you inspire me.
Galatians 3:26-28 (NRSV): 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Serve all with love.
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