Prominent feminist groups in the U.S. have been silent regarding the ongoing disaster in Afghanistan, particularly in relation to the horrors Afghan women and girls will face under Taliban rule.
A sweep of national feminist groups, their leaders, and well-known feminists found little to no recognition of the situation in Afghanistan, even as these same groups and people claim the United States is a misogynist country.
For example, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has said nothing about the situation in Afghanistan, tweeting about only voting rights and abortion over the past week. The organization’s president, Christian Nunes, has only retweeted comments about the Equal Rights Amendment, while saying nothing about Afghan women and girls.
Similarly, the Feminist Majority Foundation has also remained silent on the ongoing disaster, even though the organization blasted former President Donald Trump in 2020 for failing to include women’s rights in an agreement his administration signed with Taliban leaders as part of a withdrawal process. Feminist Majority has said nothing since Friday, and before that it was only tweeting about COVID-19 and abortion.
Neither of the major pro-abortion organizations, such as NARAL or Planned Parenthood, have mentioned women’s rights in Afghanistan, even though they have recently mentioned COVID-19 treatments, abortion, and LGBTQ issues.
Other well-known feminists, such as Gloria Steinem and Gloria Allred, have said nothing about the current plight of Afghan women and girls.
Though not feminist, the left-leaning Human Rights Campaign also has been silent about the current situation in Afghanistan, even though it has been largely focused on LGBTQ issues in recent weeks – another protected group that will face immense hardship under Taliban rule.
Women and girls in Afghanistan face incredible hardship under Taliban rule. When the Taliban previously controlled Afghanistan, between 1996 and 2001, women weren’t allowed to leave their homes without wearing full burqas and a male escort who was a member of their family. As we’ve learned from recent reporting, the Taliban is already returning to its previous treatment of women and girls.
“Local reports say Taliban fighters are already going door-to-door and forcibly marrying girls as young as 12 as Jihadist commanders order imams to create ‘marriage lists’ and offer girls for sexual servitude,” the Daily Mail reported. “Taliban soldiers are to marry the women aged from 12 to 45 … because they view them as ‘qhanimat’ or ‘spoils of war’ — to be divided up among the victors.”
There are some feminists who have called out the Taliban. Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head as a young teenager by the Taliban in Pakistan after she spoke up for the right of girls to attend school, tweeted about the ongoing situation in Afghanistan.
“We watch in complete shock as Taliban takes control of Afghanistan. I am deeply worried about women, minorities and human rights advocates. Global, regional and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, provide urgent humanitarian aid and protect refugees and civilians,” wrote Yousafzai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who has blamed her failings on alleged U.S. sexism, retweeted Malala’s statement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while inexplicably praising President Joe Biden for what is currently happening in Afghanistan, did mention women and girls and what they face in the future under Taliban rule:
The Taliban must know that the world is watching its actions. We are deeply concerned about reports regarding the Taliban’s brutal treatment of all Afghans, especially women and girls. The U.S., the international community and the Afghan government must do everything we can to protect women and girls from inhumane treatment by the Taliban.
Any political settlement that the Afghans pursue to avert bloodshed must include having women at the table. The fate of women and girls in Afghanistan is critical to the future of Afghanistan. As we strive to assist women, we must recognize that their voices are important, and all must listen to them for solutions, respectful of their culture. There is bipartisan support to assist the women and girls of Afghanistan. One of the successes of U.S.- NATO cooperation in Afghanistan was the progress made by women and girls. We must all continue to work together to ensure that is not eroded.
Outside of international feminist organizations, Pelosi’s statement was one of the strongest from U.S. feminists, who routinely claim that any disparity between men and women in America is the result of sexism. Now that actual misogyny and sexism is on display, these groups are silent.
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