In the aftermath of decades of devastating wars, ongoing instability and conflict, Afghanistan is in desperate need. Women Empowered, Inc. – Afghanistan (“WE-Afghanistan”) was conceived as a way to promote peace, democracy and human rights in Afghanistan—and eventually in other post-conflict countries in the region—and to assist in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan primarily by educating girls and women and increasing legal awareness of women’s rights.
Research has further shown that greater education of all youth promotes pro-democratic and secular attitudes, may reduce inter-ethnic conflicts that are frequently responsible for violence, and may increase the potential for successful democracy, as a literate populace engages in the types of popular participation necessary to maintain representative government.
In the specific case of Afghanistan, the education and empowerment of girls and women are likely to decrease the influence of the Taliban and extremism. When Afghan girls and women know their legal rights they can speak for themselves, vote to determine their own futures, take the country away from extremism, and eventually promote democracy.
Both modern history and current research in developing countries such as Afghanistan strongly suggest that peace and democracy are advanced when societies become educated, respect grows for human rights, and equal rights and education are provided for women and girls. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals include promoting gender equality and empowering women, and the right of quality basic education for all. Equal education for boys and girls has been shown to increase productivity and GNP/GDP of a country; but education for girls, in particular, results in more sustainable families, income growth and eventually democracy. It reduces domestic violence and it increases the participation of girls and women in society, enables them to earn a livable income, encourages them to become active citizens, and influences the broader development of tolerance throughout society.