Betty McCollum

From the office of:

Betty McCollum


From: The Honorable Betty McCollum
Sent By:

Date: 2/27/2014

Co-Sign Open Letter Supporting the Rights of Women and Girls in Afghanistan

Closing TOMORROW Friday Feb. 28th 
Current signers: McCollum, Lee, Honda, McGovern, Maloney, Schakowsky, Ellison, Edwards, Moore, Conyers, Norton, Grijalva, Tsongas, Nolan, Jackson Lee, Speier, Swalwell, Davis, Frankel
Endorsed by Women Thrive Worldwide, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Women Legislators Lobby (WiLL), International Relief and Development (IRD), Communications Workers of America, CWA National Women’s Committee, International
Women’s Rights Action Watch, Planned Parenthood Federation of America,
 Women’s Intercultural Network (WIN), American Baptist Women’s Ministries, Women Graduates-USA, Institute for Science and Human Values, Friends Committee
on National Legislation, the Afghan Women’s Project
Dear Colleague,
As Afghanistan enters a time of transition, please consider signing the open letter below, which will be translated into Dari and Pashtu and distributed across Afghanistan by civil society organizations who work with women. The letter emphasizes our continued
support for policies and programs that advance the efforts of Afghan women and girls as they continue to fight for greater opportunity.
Real progress has been made since 2001. As recently as 2005, only 12 percent of Afghan women had access to maternity care. By 2010, this had increased to 36 percent. Today, 3.4 million girls are in school and over 2,000 women serve in the police force. Much
more progress is needed, but the gains thus far, while fragile, have been inspiring.
Please contact Kelly Stone in my office if with questions or to sign on (; 225.6631).
Betty McCollum
Member of Congress
To the Women of Afghanistan:
Over the past 12 years, Afghan women have made enormous strides in political empowerment and participation, education, and health. While this progress has not been without setbacks, you should take pride in what has been accomplished thus far. These achievements
will be the foundation of developing a sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
In October 2004, women were able to exercise their right to vote for the first time in decades. There was also significant progress in Afghan law, with the 2007 release of the National Action plan for women and the 2009 enactment of the Elimination of Violence
Against Women Act. Twenty-eight percent of the seats in parliament were held by women in 2011. Just last year, women played a major role in representing Afghan civil society at the Tokyo Conference with international donors.
While your progress has been inspiring, we are aware of the tremendous challenges women and girls continue to face. A 2010 study by the Afghan Ministry of Public Health found that twenty-one percent of Afghan girls are married before the age of fifteen.
Child marriage significantly raises the risks of girls developing health problems and ends their education far too young.  Only twenty percent of young women between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four can read and write. Afghanistan ranks 158th in maternal
mortality with less than a quarter of women have skilled attendants present when giving birth.
As you continue to fight for equal opportunity, equal participation, and equal protection under the law, we are committed to standing with you. We firmly believe that expanding women and girls’ access to education, economic enrichment, and social mobility
will benefit not only the individual girl, but her whole community.
As the international community and the government of Afghanistan move towards the post-2014 era, we pledge to continue to support policies and programs that empower women and girls.