Using Storytelling as a Tool to Fight the Stereotypes about Afghan Women
Growing up in other countries, only moving to Afghanistan in 2009, and learning more about the experiences of other Afghan women, I realized how brave and resilient the Afghan women are and how much there is a need for the world to hear their incredible stories.
I started to contribute to women’s empowerment by becoming a writer with the Afghan Women’s Writing Project (AWWP), the Anna May Project and Star Educational Society actively writing poems and essays on women’s rights and the challenges women face in Afghanistan. My hope was to spread awareness about these issues to the rest of the world. Writing about women expanded my understanding of the situation of women in Afghanistan more. This inspired me to volunteer for the Everywoman Treaty, which works on the first-ever international treaty on violence against women by serving as a program team leader.
After being involved in several women’s rights organizations, I decided to do my part and created ‘Chadari’ in 2019 in order to raise further awareness and to fight with the stereotypes often associated with the Afghan women.
When many people think of Afghan women, they think of ‘burqa’, which in Afghanistan is actually called ‘chadari.’ In the West, the burqa or chadari is often conceived of as oppressive, yet the reality of the chadari is that it provides a sense of comfort and security for many women in their home contexts.
In envisioning this project, I found Chadari to be a fitting name because it represents how many misconceptions and stereotypes exist around the experiences of Afghan women. Instead of portraying the multiplicity of stories that define what it is to be a woman in Afghanistan, all too often the focus is on oppression, violence, or discrimination. Chadari seeks to dispel that image and move beyond the idea of a ‘singular’ Afghan women’s narrative by highlighting individual women and their own experiences of successes, of failures, and of the circumstances that define their own story as an Afghan woman.
Vision and mission
To expose the world to the voices of Afghan women and to dispel harmful stereotypes of what it means to be a woman in Afghanistan; to provide a platform for readers around the world to engage with social change that empowers women in Afghanistan
Chadari seeks to dispel the stereotypes that surround the diverse experiences of Afghan women through highlighting the stories of Afghan women from a diverse set of backgrounds. Chadari is also a platform for readers to make a difference by contributing to initiatives that empower change in these women’s communities.