Since the United States went to war in Afghanistan in 2001, military success and changes in the power structure have been fleeting. But some things there have changed faster than others. “The development of the Afghan media sector stands out as a particular success story,” reports Lauryn Oates in Herizons (Winter 2011). “Independent media outlets have burgeoned. New television and radio stations, newspapers and magazines, as well as an active blogosphere, are flourishing.” A new women’s magazine entered the fray last year.
Launched in May 2010, Negah-e-Zan (“vision of women”) is the first women’s magazine in Afghanistan dedicated to women’s empowerment. “I try to help women by showing them, you are powerful. I try to support them spiritually and mentally, to show them, you are not weak,” Editor Humira Saqeb told Herizons.
Negah-e-Zan, which has a circulation of 3,000 and is distributed only in Kabul, runs articles about powerful women both inside and outside Afghanistan, like Rachida Dati, the first woman of North African descent to hold a cabinet position in France; Nobel Prize–winning Iranian activist Shirin Ebadi; and U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
After the first issue, Saqeb received death threats. By the second issue, two female members of parliament had taken out ads for their election campaigns.
Have something to say? Send a letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. This article first appeared in the July-August 2011 issue of Utne Reader.