- Region: Asia
- Country / Conflict-Affected Area: Afghanistan
- Position: Independent activist – Afghanistan
- Organization: Postgraduate Fellow, University of Warwick
- Expertise: Security
For a decade Wazhma Frogh has championed the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of Afghan society. She advocates for women’s participation in politics and peace movements and campaigns for legislative reforms, including the Elimination of Violence against Women Law and the Shia Personal Status Law in Afghanistan.
Ms. Frogh, who quotes “religious gatekeepers” in Afghanistan as saying that women should be at home or in the grave, first became aware of gender inequality at the age of 12. She began by changing expectations for women within her own conservative family, including her ex-army officer father. At 17, she started a career as a writer, reporter, and social activist, contributing weekly updates to The Frontier Post newspaper about women and children living in refugee camps in Peshawar, Pakistan.
While living in Peshawar from 1992 to 2001, Ms. Frogh organized community-based empowerment programs for women. She travelled frequently into Afghanistan’s most insecure provinces to support these efforts. In 2001, she returned permanently to Afghanistan to continue her work. She completed the first gender assessment of women’s conditions in Nuristan, Afghanistan in 2002, just after the formal fall of the Taliban government. She supported the establishment of Women Development Centers in four provinces of the country, including Kandahar, Ghazni, Herat and Parwan provinces, mobilizing women and creating leadership and livelihood opportunities. In 2006-2007 her efforts reached more than 215 local organizations in different parts of the country to create gender sensitive development interventions under the Initiative for the Promotion of Afghan Civil Society with Counterpart International. Ms. Frogh was a 2008 participant in Inclusive Security’s annual Colloquium. She also has assisted the Institute organize and implement a number of trainings on women’s leadership in Kabul.
A 2009 recipient of the US Department of State’s International Women of Courage award, Ms. Frogh aspires to be a chief justice, citing legal protection as key for women’s rights and empowerment.
Read more about Wazhma Frogh:
An Afghan Pullout Would Be a Rights Disaster
By Wazhma Frogh, Washington Post
October 18, 2009
Inside Islam, a Woman’s Roar
By Jill Carroll, The Christian Science Monitor
March 5, 2008
Last Updated: March 2010