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Women’s voices and leadership is more critical than ever to address and solve crises facing the world. On Friday May 6th, Vital Voices hosted a discussion on the crisis in Ukraine and the way forward in Afghanistan, featuring the voices of public and civil society leaders.  

Panelists shared the critical need to advocate for women leaders in crises response in the humanitarian sector, governmental bodies, academia, and the education community, noting that this is crucial to increasing effective interventions that adequately address the complexity and diversity of humanitarian crises. Women across crises are active agents of change, not just in local communities, but on a global level as well. That is what women in Afghanistan are still fighting for, and have been over the last 20 years.  

Panelists shared the need to change the dynamics of gender inequality that create deeply embedded gender inequality at the organizational, cultural, social, financial, and political levels. Gender inequality is often exacerbated during conflicts, with women often on the front lines of those most impacted by the crisis. By ensuring that women are at the decision-making tables in addressing and resolving crises, greater justice and accountability will become possible.

Let us know the women of Afghanistan not as victims, but as stubborn optimists

Muqaddessa Yourish, Former Deputy Trade Minister of Afghanistan

These conversations featured:

  • Ambassador Oksana Markarova of Ukraine  
  • Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security  
  • Okasana Horbunova, Ukrainian Human Rights Activist  
  • Dalia Grybauskaitė, Former President of Lithuania  
  • Francesca Donner, Gender Director, New York Times and Editor, In Her Words
  • Adela Raz, Former Ambassador of Afghanistan to the U.S.  
  • Muqaddessa Yourish, Former Deputy Trade Minister of Afghanistan   
  • Rina Amiri, U.S. Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights  
  • Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate  
  • Kah Walla, President of Cameroon People Party and CEO of STRATEGIES! Entrepreneur, Political Leader, and Activist
  • Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices