Afghan men: crucial advocates for women’s rights

Being a feminist in Afghanistan isn’t always easy, even for a man. Kabul university student Ferdous Samim has had trouble persuading even his own mother that the work he does pushing for women’s rights is worthwhile.

“Part of the problem in Afghanistan is that most women think like men,” said Samim over tea in the garden of a Kabul cafe.

“I don’t have a sister, but I’m sure if I did, and she tried to go outside the house, my mother would be asking where she was going, what she was doing, why she was going out.”

A member of the male advocacy wing of activist group YoungWomen4Change, he is part of a small but critical group of male activists helping Afghan women fight for a better life.

His modest goal for the next two decades — that women should be able to walk in Afghanistan’s streets and markets without harassment — is a reminder of the scale of the challenge women still face.

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