A National Council of Young Women event entitled “Women in Afghanistan: a life of disadvantage” was held recently at Stephenson College, Durham University Queens Campus. The talk given by Dr Manizha Hadi, a PhD student in the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, was chaired by Dr Simon Forrest, the Head of School and was funded via the Stephenson College Scholars’ Supper Series.

The talk was very well attended by NCW members, including the president of NCW, Gwenda Nicholas, alongside staff, community members, postgraduate and undergraduate students. In fact, it was the best attended seminar the college has ever held!

Manizha provided an overview of the disadvantages a female is likely to face over a lifetime in Afghanistan; from being born through to her death. She went on to discuss the complex array of factors affecting sexual and reproductive health for women; offering her own personal insights from growing up in Afghanistan, as well information gained from her Masters and PhD research. We heard from Manizha about the terribly high rates of maternal deaths in Afghanistan and how they compare to the UK and the violence and inequity many women face. Manizha concluded by discussing some of the difficulties health care providers and international organisations face in attempting to combat some of these inequalities and her suggestions for improving the current situation for women in Afghanistan. The talk ended with the opportunity for attendees to ask questions and a lively discussion followed.


Note: Dr Hadi’s talk so impressed the NCW President that she invited Dr Hadi to join the panel of speakers at the seminar “Voices for Change” at the NCW National Annual Conference in Darlington in October.


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