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The future for women and girls in Afghanistan is uncertain

August 16, 2021, 1:01 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Time’s Up reckons with its proximity to power, Tesla wants Robyn Denholm to stay in charge, and women and girls wonder what comes next in Afghanistan. Have a reflective Monday.

– What comes next for women. This weekend, the world watched as the Taliban took over Kabul and, with it, Afghanistan. Journalists, translators, and other vulnerable Afghan nationals who worked with American forces over the past two decades scrambled to find safety as Afghanistan’s president fled and the U.S. Embassy closed. And Afghans across the country—including young people who have never known an Afghanistan under Taliban control—reckoned with what this new era means for their own lives.

One big question in the months leading up to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was: what about the women and girls? Gains to women’s rights—from the freedom to work to access to girls’ education—were one of the most tangible results of the long conflict.

There were the teen girl robotics team champions. The Afghan women serving in elected office and working in the government. The girls attending school. The female Afghan journalists working throughout the country. The women’s rights activists.

Over the past year, Afghan women have said they “fear[ed] the worst” about what was to come—and that Americans’ promises to protect women’s rights were “just slogans.”

Many Afghan women knew that Taliban control was a possible—and even likely—outcome. Over the past several months, they’ve been preparing for the possible loss of their careers, educations, and freedoms under Taliban rule. Women who have entered the workforce over the past several years fear they won’t be allowed to continue their careers. Girls going to school worry about the future of their education.

With the Taliban now in control of the country, many of those women and girls are bracing for what happens next. The nonprofit newsroom the Fuller Project has been in touch with Afghan female journalists on the ground in Kabul; one reports that, “The whole city has changed towards women [nearly overnight] … Tomorrow they cannot go out. Life has stopped.”

Says women’s rights activist Fawzia Koofi: “Women in Afghanistan are the most at danger or most at-risk population of the country.”

Emma Hinchliffe
emma.hinchliffe@fortune.com
@_emmahinchliffe

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

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