« Back to News

Women Leaders Across the World Urge to Protect Afghan Women and Girls


PRESS RELEASE, Helsinki 20.09.2021

The former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen has published a plea today to protect the rights and wellbeing of women and girls in Afghanistan now that the Taleban have seized power in the country.

The plea has been signed by a number of other prominent female leaders such as Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Joyce Banda former President of Malawi and Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland.

They join the recent Call by Women Leaders to uphold and advance equal rights and opportunities for girls and women in Afghanistan.

Securing girls’ access to education and ensuring women’s equal participation in the society is the only way forward for Afghanistan,” stresses Tarja Halonen, who served as the first female President of Finland in 2000-2012.

The plea urges the Afghan government to respect the human rights of Afghan women as well as ensure their full participation in all fields of society. The letter, which clearly demonstrates an anxiety for the security and position of Afghan women and girls, asks the newly appointed Afghan government to adhere to the legal obligations under the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The letter stresses that a nation can only prosper by embracing all her citizens, and that Afghan women must take part in the peace-building process in order for it to succeed. One can only wait to hear what the answer of the Afghan government will be.

Read the full plea here


For more information and media inquiries:

Marjo Pekkanen, Diplomatic Adviser, + 358 50 464 5028, marjo.pekkanen@formin.fi