The current plight of women in Afghanistan under Taliban rule is a human rights catastrophe.
In a departure from our typical ‘Roll On’ format, the gravamen of today’s episode focuses on the very grave predicament faced by the 18 million Afghan women in the wake of the United States withdrawal. To guide us in this important conversation, we are joined by podcast alums Drs. Ayesha & Dean Sherzai.
Experts on brain health, Alzheimer’s, and neurodegenerative diseases, Drs. Sherzai have twice graced this show for deep dives on maintaining and optimizing cognitive function. Under-explored until now is Ayesha & Dean’s considerable first-hand experience with Afghanistan.
“The women of Afghanistan are just like your mothers, sisters, friends, and neighbors. And they are suffering.”
– AYESHA SHERZAI
In 2003 President Karzai appointed Dean Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Health, creating one of the most successful post-conflict healthcare systems with women’s empowerment at its core. Ayesha founded the Social Welfare Society for Afghan Refugees in medical school, volunteered with Doctors Without Borders’ in Afghanistan during her medical training, and co-founded the Afghan Health Initiative.
Specific topics discussed in today’s episode include:
- The history of women’s rights in Afghanistan;
- the downstream human rights implications of the U.S. withdrawal;
- the role that fear plays in female oppression;
- using healthcare as a catalyst for women’s empowerment;
- what we can be done to aid women in Afghanistan; and
- how to support female Afghan artists, scientists, politicians & leaders.
If possible, I highly encourage you to donate to programs like Restore Her Voice. Any amount can make a difference.
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- Electric Lit: 8 Books By and About Afghan Women
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- Donate: Rescue & Resettle Afghan Women
- New York Times: Threats and Fear Cause Afghan Women’s Protections to Vanish Overnight
- New York Times: For Women in Afghan Security Forces, a Daily Battle
- New York Times: The U.S. War in Afghanistan: How It Started, and How It Ended
- The Atlantic: The Taliban’s Return Is Catastrophic For Women
- The Washington Post: An Afghan politician spent her life working for women’s rights. She barely made it out of the country.
- The Guardian: Evidence contradicts Taliban’s claim to respect women’s rights
- CNN: The Taliban said women wouldn’t face discrimination. They already are
- HCFWI: The Women’s Health Care Empowerment Model as a Catalyst for Change in Developing Countries
- Book: Only Cry for the Living: Memos From Inside the ISIS Battlefield
- NPR: What It’s Like To Be A Woman Reporting On The Taliban: ‘They Don’t Look At You’
- CNN: Clarissa Ward recounts her journey out of Afghanistan aboard a refugee flight
- CNN: Young Afghan artist creates haunting image of her homeland’s fall to the Taliban
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