Anthony Hyman Memorial Lecture 2023 - Repression and Resistance: The struggle for women's rights in Afghanistan

Key information

6:15 pm to 8:00 pm
Brunei Gallery
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre (BGLT)
Event type

About this event

Speaker: Shaharzad Akbar (Human Rights Activist)


The Taliban's military takeover in August 2021 has had devastating consequences for human rights in general and for women’s and girls’ rights in particular. But as the Taliban's repression has grown, so has the resistance of grassroots activists inside the country, as well as mobilization amongst Afghan women in exile.

The talk reflects upon this women’s rights activism, unpacking the different narratives, strategies and demands that shape and define it. In exploring these differences, we place them within the wider historical context of international intervention in Afghanistan and the long struggle for gender equality.

Event recording

Speaker biography

Shaharzad Akbar is a human rights activist from Afghanistan, currently in exile, and is the Executive Director of Rawadari, a recently established Afghan human rights organization. Shaharzad is also a Visiting Scholar at Wolfson College, Oxford and Academy Associate with the Chatham House. Shaharzad has a diverse professional background in human rights, media and culture and youth mobilisation. She is a board member for the International Service for Human Rights and a member of the International Advisory Council for Institute for Integrated Transitions.

Shaharzad’s experience spans establishing and running a consultancy firm in Kabul, supporting Afghan civil society and media in her role as Country Director of Open Society Afghanistan, and working with the government of the Republic of Afghanistan on development issues. Prior to the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August 2021, Shaharzad was the Chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Shaharzad has advocated for the human rights of Afghans, a dignified and just peace and accountability for gross violations at the international level, including through engaging with the UN Security Council and UN Human Rights Council. Shaharzad’s writing has appeared in Afghan and international media, including Foreign Affairs, Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, Al Jazeera, Just Security, and academic journals. Shaharzad completed an M.Phil at Oxford University, UK, and previously obtained her B.A from Smith College, USA.


SOAS Centre of Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus