I graduated from Stanford University in 2002 with a BA in International Relations and a minor in Psychology and have a Masters in International Affairs from Georgetown University.
The challenges of a pandemic, but looking at the silver lining
As the Coronovirus pandemic has raged on the last year and a half, the consequences are innumerable. We have all had to adapt to this "new normal," which means trying to live our lives in the midst of a pandemic. And as many conversations with friends and colleagues show, it has been challenging to try to live our lives while the Coronovirus continues to pose a threat.
Women's rights are human rights
As I mentioned previously, I've been taking a course on International Global Women's Health from Stanford University via Coursera with Professor Ann Firth-Murray (See previous essay on "Fear of Afghan Women.") The course surveys a swath of topics related to International Women's Health and their Human rights, including Women and Education, Gender-based violence, Maternity and Reproductive Health, Sex Trafficking, War and Refugee women, aging, women and economic empowerment and FGM (female genital mutilation) and child marriages. While I highly recommend this course to anyone who is open to learning about women and women's rights as human rights issues, this course has left me aghast at the complexity of issues surrounding women and also frankly, outraged.
The fear of Afghan women
I've been listening to a lecture via Coursera on International Global Women's Health, recently, and yesterday, I came across a startling statistic -that 80 percent of Afghan women are domestically abused in their Lifetime (one in three women experience gender-based violence globally). And this former statistic broke my heart. The jarring nature of this statistic mirrored the violence and chaos we've seen in the news the past two weeks or so since President Biden made an announcement on in May 2021, in alignment with the Trump administration, to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021 after 20 years of its War on Terrorism on the Taliban since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. This foreign policy decision will most likely have significant and long-lasting repercussion on preventing gender-based violence and access to education and leadership for women we have seen under the U.S. backed "War on Terror" and the U.S.-backed Afghan government we have become familiar with in the last two decades.