On March 8, 2009, USAID/Afghanistan celebrated International Women’s Day and the contributions made by Afghan women to the development of their country.
Overcoming great obstacles following the fall of the Taliban, women now play an increasingly visible role in Afghan society. Afghanistan’s Constitution stipulates that the legal status of women is equal to men, and women make up twenty-six percent of Parliament. There are now prominent women serving as provincial governors, judges and prosecutors, and members of the armed forces. Additionally, women throughout Afghanistan’s provinces work as teachers, healthcare providers, civil servants, and entrepreneurs, bringing essential services to fellow citizens.
However, despite these improvements, many of Afghanistan’s women still face poverty, discrimination, and exclusion from employment and participation in public life. Too often, they lack access to healthcare and education. USAID programs work to ensure a better future for Afghanistan’s women, their families, communities, and country. To achieve this, USAID supports legal rights for women, helps them gain access to public services and jobs, builds their capacity, and encourages their inclusion in public life.
From 2002 to 2008, USAID/Afghanistan has
- Increased access to health and hospital services from eight percent to approximately 80 percent. The Afghan Midwives Association (AMA), which protects maternal health and decreases infant mortality, now boasts a growing membership of 1,100 women.
- Provided nearly 190,000 girls and women with literacy, numeracy, and life skills training through community-based programs.
- Issued 70,000 loans to women, for a total of over $13 million, through a rural enterprise program.
- Trained 70 female judges, providing them the tools necessary to officiate over the courts, manage cases, and ensure due process.
- Trained nearly 500 female journalists, strengthening the independent media network across the country.
To learn more about USAID and U.S. Government programs that empower women, please visit