Women in Afghanistan have found an outlet to share their experiences, opinions, and voices in a project called the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. Located in Kabul at an undisclosed location, an internet center allows women to write to the online magazine without fearing backlash from the reigning Taliban. Many women pen their articles using their first names only, or even pseudonyms; in most cases, their families are unaware of their participation. Currently, 75 women take part in this initiative, finding themselves amidst a sea of stories of real women living under the oppressive hands of the Taliban. When the Taliban seized power in the 1990s, women lost many of their rights and were at the mercy of their male relatives. However, a little more than two years ago, Masha Hamilton, an American journalist, novelist, and former reporter in Afghanistan in 2004 and 2008, intended to create a means for women in Afghanistan to resist, even if in secrecy for now. Hamilton formed a coalition of activists and writers to act as mentors to these women. In order to remain active in the workshop, these women must file at least one article per month and live in Afghanistan.
Although many of the writings detail the difficulties and pains of Afghan women, such as the restrictions placed upon them to stay at home or their inability to work and go to school, some women find a sense of empowerment and use the project to channel a growing sense of confidence. Since the United States invasion in 2001, a “tradition of resistance” continues to unravel in Afghanistan, as women are willingly chastising the government and sharing their stories in order to publicly expose the human rights’ violations against women in particular. These ordinary women are finding their voices in a time of change. With this, women in Afghanistan are becoming part of the national fabric and can no longer be ignored.