Stronger Together – Women and Men to Tackle Long-Term Gendered Consequences of COVID-19

COVID-19 has had a negative impact on Afghanistan’s economy. This impact will worsen if we don't address what is commonly referred to as the Shadow Pandemic: A severe increase in domestic violence and discrimination of women.
Woman in mask holding microphone

The Afghan Women’s Network conducted research across eight of the country’s 34 provinces – 35% of respondents reported an increase in gender-based violence since beginning of the pandemic. A third of women said they didn’t know where to go or how to get help.[1]

UN Women estimates that the global cost of violence against women before the pandemic was approximately USD 1.5 trillion.[2] This figure has likely increased as the levels of violence against women have increased under COVID-19.

In 2009, the Afghan government adopted the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW), tackling discrimination and fostering gender equality.

Three women wearing masks write on poster paper

The Afghan-German Cooperation’s Promotion of the Rule of Law Programme (RoL) is raising its voice and spreading awareness on the EVAW Law. RoL is conducting several workshops to share information on what the law is, how and where it applies, and how to apply it. Through its workshops, the programme empowers women and strengthens the potential role of religious actors as agents of social change.

RoL conducted two such workshops recently.

Woman sits at table in front of presentation and speaks next to two other women wearing

From February 8th to 11th, RoL conducted a four-day training on women’s empowerment for the Women’s Network in Feyzabad. The Network defends women’s rights via advocacy and coordination among women rights actors. It encourages women to gain and exchange knowledge and to support and strengthen each other in claiming their rights.

The women learned about the importance of legal and civil documents and the procedure for receiving these documents from relevant legal and judicial institutions. They also learned about the anti-harassment law and how to use the law as a preventative measure.

The Women’s Network was established recently by the Women Affairs Department of Badakhshan and in cooperation with Citizen Charter Program. It encourages the social participation of women in the area and their role in decision-making.

Over the same period, a Madrasa Teacher Training on women’s rights for 32 male teachers took place in Badakhshan. The training improved the men’s knowledge on women’s rights, so they can become an integral voice for achieving gender equality.


[2] According to UN Women, the global cost of violence against women had previously been estimated at approximately USD 1.5 trillion. Violence against women and girls: the shadow pandemic | UN Women – Headquarters