Special Session – Between Hope and Fear: Afghan Women and Girls in Political Transition

Special Session – Between Hope and Fear: Afghan Women and Girls in Political Transition

This page contains a description, concept note, timetable, and bios of speakers and moderators


The Special Session entitled Between Hope and Fear: Afghan Women and Girls in Political Transition’  took place on Wednesday 8 March 2023 at 09:00 – 11:00 GMT (UK). This equates to 13:00 – 15:00 GMT+4  in Georgia, 13:30 – 15:30 GMT+4:30 in Afghanistan, and 14:00 – 16:00 PST/ GMT+5 in Pakistan. 

This knowledge exchange engagement activity was part of the Special Session Webinar Series on Women’s Stories of Survival, Innovation, Resilience and Development

Facilitated by Dr. Ayse Yildiz (School of Business, University of Leicester) and Dr. Inshah Malik (New Vision University and ADN-Regional Coordinator, Afghanistan), this Special Session brought together scholars, practitioners and humanitarian first responders to understand the issue of political transition through the experiences of Afghan women and girls on International Women’s Day.

The  panel aimed to explore the following:

  • Understanding women and girls’ experiences of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, especially in terms of political, social and cultural changes and raising awareness about challenges faced by Afghan women and girls.
  • Understanding women and girls’ lives as they have been set in transition, whether at home with the changing political system or through migration for safety and education, especially to highlight stories of resilience and determination.
  • Ascertaining what kind of support women and girls need both inside and outside of Afghanistan to continue to affect change in their home country and to improve their lives, especially in terms of access to healthcare, education, and infrastructure.

Concept Note

For more information on this Special Session, please read our concept note via the link below:

Concept Note – Between Hope and Fear: Afghan Women and Girls in Political Transition

Published: 15 February 2023

Authors: Dr. Inshah Malik and Dr. Ayse Yildiz





Dr. Nimra Choudhary, Avoidable Deaths Network


Professor Heiko Balzter, Institute for Environmental Futures

Dr. Nibedita Ray Bennett, Avoidable Deaths Network

Political Transition and Women in Afghanistan: An Overview

Mr. Niamatullah Zafary

Impact of Transition on Sexual and Reproductive Health Access

Dr. Ritu Mahendru

Impact of Transition on Changing Economic Conditions and Opportunity for Women in Afghanistan

Ms. Wajiha Timori

Impact of Transition on Women’s Psychological Health

Ms. Fakhria Naistani

Impact of Transition on Women and Girls’ Education in Afghanistan

Ms. Sania Amin Taheri

Q&A and Interactive Discussion

Dr. Inshah Malik, New Vision University

Dr. Ayse Yildiz, University of Leicester

Concluding Remarks

Dr. Nibedita Ray Bennett, Avoidable Deaths Network

Speakers and Moderators


Niamatullah Zafary, PhD candidate. 2021-22 Chevening scholar and Sussex graduate. Former human development coordinator at UNDP.

Dr. Ritu Mahendru is the Executive Director of Vashi Impact Group. She is a human and women rights defender based out of England. She has worked extensively on Sexual and Reproductive Health Access in Afghanistan.

Fakhria Naistani is a psychologist and former senior Project assistant for psychosocial reintegration at IOM-UN. Queen Mary University of London graduate.

Wajiha Timori is an admitted lawyer and former legal advisor to Afghanistan Central Bank. She holds an LLB and MIR degree and is pursuing an LLM with AUCA.

Sania Amin Taheri is a senior compliance Officer at the Afghanistan Central Bank and a proud graduate of a Master in International Relations.

Professor Heiko Balzter is the Director of the Institute for Environmental Futures at the University of Leicester, undertaking transdisciplinary research into the climate and species extinction crisis across social, physical and health sciences.

Dr. Nibedita Ray-Bennett is an Associate Professor in Risk Management at the University of Leicester. She is also the Founding President and Convenor of the Avoidable Deaths Network. 


Dr. Inshah Malik is an Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at the New Vision University in Georgia and an ADN Regional Coordinator for Afghanistan. She holds a PhD in Political Theory and Gender Studies.

Dr. Ayse Yildiz is a Lecturer in Risk at the University of Leicester’s School of Business. She holds an PhD in Disaster Risk Reduction and an Masters in Crisis and Disaster Management.