When Democracy Is Not an Option, Women Suffer the Most


On International Women’s Day, 2022, we woke up watching women sacrifice everything for their children and freedom. My Diplomatic Courier article tells the stories of the women I met through the International Republican Institute. It highlights the severe implications for women when a country slides into autocratic forms of government. A lunch conversation especially inspired me with Naheed A. Farid, a member of the Afghan parliament-in-exile, which highlighted the loss of the most basic human right—the right to be called by your name.

“Naheed told me about her 2002 campaign for public office, which centered around the theme: “Where Is My Name?”  In Taliban ruled Afghanistan, women could be denied the right to be called by their name or have their name listed on their child’s birth certificate. In many cases, a woman’s name would not be listed on their own wedding invitations or even at their graves as it is considered disrespectful to men.” 

As women fight bravely in Ukraine, we must continue to track the abuse of women in Afghanistan, Belarus, China, Iran, Venezuela, and other authoritarian regimes by raising their voices and helping them fight for their freedom to speak out. Join me by calling out their names.