As I wrote in this statement on Monday, following the collapse of the Afghan government, our hearts are breaking for the women and girls of Afghanistan.  Afterward, I read some comments in social media questioning why NOW was even getting involved in this issue – I firmly believe it’s our responsibility to care, speak out, and work with groups on the ground to address this growing crisis. 

Because NOW is a multi-issue, multi-strategy organization, we take a holistic approach to women’s rights, and our commitment doesn’t stop at our borders. We are dedicated to global feminism.  

In 2015, all United Nations Member States adopted a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet that included 17 goals for sustainable development (SDGs).  Gender Equality is Goal #5.  If you read through the UN’s targets to create action on this goal, you’ll recognize much of NOW’s policy agenda. 

We are committed to ending discrimination against women and girls, ending all violence against and exploitation of women and girls, creating universal access to reproductive health and rights, and encouraging full participation in leadership and decision making and other priorities, not just here in the U.S., but everywhere.  

Engaging with the world is an important quality of intersectional feminism.  As Kimberlé Crenshaw says, “If you see inequality as a ‘them’ problem or ‘unfortunate other’ problem, that is a problem.”  As this article from UN Women shows, intersectional feminism means recognizing the historical contexts surrounding an issue. In a crisis—from Afghanistan to the impact of COVID-19, those who were already most vulnerable are often left behind. 

“If you are invisible in everyday life, your needs will not be thought of, let alone addressed, in a crisis situation,” says a human rights defender in Thailand working with LGBTQIA+ people, many of whom are Indigenous. 

Here’s a new NOW action alert with information on how you can help groups providing front-line assistance in Afghanistan, and other important information and context.  And here are some ways that you can help amplify, uplift, and mobilize so that we help those impacted by what is happening in Afghanistan: 

  • Amplify the stories and narratives of what is happening to the Afghan people,  particularly the women and girls. 
  • Uplift and support organizations, refugee resettlement centers, and refugees who will be evacuated.  Provide resources aid and support. 
  • Mobilize our grassroots to contact your local members of Congress to express the importance for the Biden Administration to act swiftly and help with evacuation and resettlement. 

These women are not invisible to us.  We see them, we hear them, and we are united in our commitment to their future. I hope we will all come together and stand up and speak out.  Global feminism is our issue too.