Our History and Work

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Who are we?
Free Women Writers is a collective of writers and students working for gender equality and social justice in Afghanistan.
Our work started in 2013 when we published Daughters of Rabia, a collection of Afghan women’s writings. Two Afghan activists, Noorjahan Akbar and Batul Muradi, created the book. Today the Free Women Writers blog includes hundreds of articles, poems, narratives and essays. It has reached tens of thousands of Afghans on social media and through our local media partners. This website is a growing compilation of these writings translated in English. We dedicate these writings to the women of our country who continue to fight for their rights despite tremendous odds.

 

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Why Daughters of Rabia?

Rabia Balkhi, who lived in the 900’s, is one of the first and most influential Persian poets. She was killed by her brother for falling in love with a slave. She was killed for daring to write. She was killed for dreaming of a different world. Rabia is symbolic for the women of Afghanistan because she broke misogynistic traditions by daring to fall in love. She made the inhumane class system of her time shake by loving a slave. She stood up to injustice by writing her story. It is because she raised her voice then that we can today. She exemplifies our fight not only for gender equality and education but for social justice as a whole. We titled our book Daughters of Rabia to honor this brave woman. Click here to read the book in Persian.

 

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What are our goals?
Inspired by Rabia Balkhi, we aim to promote gender equality, social justice, and human rights using our voices. In Afghanistan, where daily terrorist attacks, poverty, and war have led to the sustenance of a culture of violence and inequality, we use our pens to fight terrorism and patriarchy as well as unjust capitalism that may lead to environmental decay, economic inequality or dehumanizing portrayals of women in the media. We are also aware of the fact that global media often misrepresents Afghanistan, in particular Afghan women. Afghanistan’s women are often talked about, but rarely listened to. We hope to challenge the one-dimensional portrayal of Afghanistan and Afghans at a global level by elevating authentic Afghan voices.

 

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Why we focus on gender equality?
We firmly believe that the participation of women in society is essential for progress in our country. Any step towards gender equality will be a victory not just for the women of our country, but for the entire nation. It will also have a tremendous impact on our fight against religious radicalism, terrorism, environmental degradation, economic inequality and corruption. We believe that unless women have basic human rights and the opportunity to participate in all venues of the society, sustainable and genuine progress is impossible. Anyone who believes in the principles of democracy and equality is welcome to submit poetry, visual art pieces, essays, narratives, op-eds, or short stories to Free Women Writers. To submit a piece, Email us at: info@freewomenwriters.org

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Daughters of Rabia is a collection of Afghan women's writings in defense of their human rights. The book was published by two Afghan activists, Noorjahan Akbar and Batul Muradi, in 2013. Following the book's success and distribution in six provinces in Afghanistan, Noorjahan Akbar created the Free Women Writers blog to continue publishing women's writings in Persian, Pashtu and Uzbeki. Since then, the blog has expanded to include hundreds of articles, poems, narratives, essays and paintings about gender equality, environmental concerns, economic inequality, democracy and other social justice issues. With a weekly readership of more than thirty thousand, the blog has reached tens of thousands of Afghans. This website is the English translation of these writings. Read the Persian book here: http://bit.ly/DaughtersofRabia