After August – Voices of Afghan women two years after the Taliban takeover

On 15 August 2021, everything changed for women and girls in Afghanistan. First came the curbs on girls’ education and women’s right to work, then the enforcement of strict dress codes and impositions on women’s freedom of movement and access to public life. Two years after their takeover of Afghanistan, through more than 50 edicts, orders, and restrictions, the Taliban have systematically imposed a set of meticulously constructed policies of inequality that impact every part of a woman’s life, that regulate where a woman can go and how she should dress.

Since day one, the Taliban’s system of suffocation, fear and oppression has been met with fearless resilience from Afghan women and girls who continue to protest, resist, and speak up. Fighting for women’s rights is a fierce struggle everywhere in the world. But nowhere have more lives depended on it than in Afghanistan right now.

In the face of the most hostile of circumstances [Afghan women] speak out against the violations, deliver lifesaving services, own and operate businesses, and run women’s organisations. Their bravery must inspire us to greater action, their example to renewed determination.”

We created “After August” based on the belief that, when injustice is the norm, silence is unjustifiable. “After August” is a digital space to document and share with the world the experiences of Afghan women as they live and resist in today’s Afghanistan. It is a counter-narrative to the Taliban’s campaign to render Afghan women invisible.

If you have ever been oppressed for standing up for your rights, told to be silent when speaking out, or attacked for living a life of your own choosing, read “After August”, share a message of solidarity, spread the word.

What we all do—or fail to do—for women and girls in Afghanistan is the ultimate test of who we are as individuals, as a global community, and what we stand for.

The collection of stories in “After August”, documenting the lives of Afghan women, is a collaboration between UN Women Afghanistan, Zan Times, Limbo, and independent storytellers. The content of these stories does not necessarily represent the views of the United Nations or affiliated organisations. Names, locations, and course of events have been changed to ensure the safety of the women featured.

Afghan women and girls need your support now more than ever

In their words


Gender alert no. 4: Back to the 1990s? Women’s rights under the Taliban

Since August 2021, the Taliban have implemented a consistent and continuously expanding assault on women’s rights in Afghanistan. An assault which, with each passing day, decree after decree, sees the Taliban move closer to approximating their period of rule in Afghanistan during the 1990s.

This Gender Alert brings together publicly available gender data and analysis covering the period between August 2022 and February 2023.

Gender alert no. 3: Out of jobs, into poverty: The impact of the ban on Afghan women working in NGOs

Developed during the two-week period following the ban, this gender alert analyses the impact of the directive through the insights of Afghan women’s civil society organisations. The gender alert focuses primarily on the immediate repercussions of the ban on humanitarian assistance, as well as the implications for the economy and women’s empowerment.

Gender alert no. 2: Women’s rights in Afghanistan one year after the Taliban take-over

This gender alert draws on secondary data published in the past year and insights from UN Women visits across provinces in 2022; the analysis has found that the Taliban has not substantively changed its position on women’s rights.

Gender alert no. 1: Women’s rights in Afghanistan: Where are we now?

In the first “gender alert” since the Taliban took over Kabul on 15 August 2021, UN Women brings data and analyses on the impact of the changing dynamics and the humanitarian crisis on the rights of Afghan women and girls.

Afghan women and girls need your support now more than ever