Cortright to testify at Congressional hearing on women in Afghanistan


Ten years after the overthrow of the Taliban, Afghan women are increasingly finding their rights and freedoms under threat. In the face of rising violence, women and girls are losing access to education and the chance to participate in public and political life.

On Tuesday (May 3), University of Notre Dame professor David Cortright will join other experts in testifying before Congress on women in Afghanistan. Organized by the nonpartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress, the hearing is open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the media and the interested public. It will take place at 10 a.m. at 345 Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

David Cortright

Cortright, director of policy studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace studies, is co-author of the new report “Afghan Women Speak: Enhancing Security and Human Rights in Afghanistan.”

The hearing will examine the impact of the conflict on women in Afghanistan, Cortright said. It will address the policy of political reconciliation with the Taliban and the implications of this process for Afghan women. The hearing will also discuss U.S. humanitarian aid projects affecting women and the recent attacks on women’s shelters.

“Continued war is not helping Afghan women,” Cortright said. “The gradual withdrawal of U.S. forces is necessary, but it must be linked to a strategy that pursues political power-sharing and preserves the gains women have achieved over the past decade.”

The full list of witnesses is as follows:

Rina Amiri, senior advisor on Afghanistan for the Office of the Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. Department of State.

Don Steinberg, deputy administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

Joanne Sandler, deputy director, UN Women

David Cortright, director of policy studies, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies,University of Notre Dame

Dr. Massouda Jalal, physician, former Minister of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan and founder of the Jalal Foundation

Hon. Marzia Basel, founder and director, Afghan Women’s Judges Association

Contact: David Cortright, 574-631-8536,