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  • Mar 09, 2024

"Gender Apartheid is real!"

Journalists, civil society representatives, and human rights advocates convened at London's Shoreditch Town Hall on March 9.

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The findings of her research were presented by British House of Lords member Baroness Helena Kennedy, who stated in this meeting, “If you took the word race out and put the word gender into the apartheid convention, this is exactly what is happening to the women of Afghanistan.”

From the summer of 2023, a special group in the British Parliament, led by Baroness Kennedy, has been examining the inquiry into gender apartheid in Afghanistan and Iran and has raised the question of whether this oppression is gender apartheid or not. Drawing parallels with the historical racial apartheid of South Africa, the research included the recording of witness accounts, a series of expert meetings, and dialogue and consultation of global actors.

Baroness Kennedy explained: “For our report on gender apartheid we had testimonies from Iranian refugees and Afghan refugees but also women online from Afghanistan who were not able to reveal their names or faces. And we have included them in the report.”

Negin Shiraghaei, founder of Azadi Network said: “There has always been a question of how do we help women on the ground? And then the answer on the political front is either war or sanctions. But this report and the term Gender Apartheid is a tool for the women on the ground. It empowers them without shedding their blood.”

Madeleine Reese, Secretary General of WILPF said: “As women we need to say, Gender Apartheid is real, it’s being named by women in Iran and Afghanistan. And it’s real for so many women across the world. We need to be intelligent in how we use the term Gender Apartheid. We need to use every single tool we have instead of just being the tool of a politician. We can’t wait for the law, bring it into the language and campaign around it.”

Jude Kelly, director of Women of the World, told the audience, “Men must stand up shoulder to shoulder with women.”


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