By Zahra Nader (Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies)
In Afghanistan, being a journalist is a challenging job; it is even harder to be a female journalist in a country often ranked as the worst place to be a woman. I know this from experience.
Before coming to Canada, I was a journalist for local and international media, covering war, terrorism, politics, and everyday life in Kabul. Most of all, I was interested to report issues that affected Afghan women’s lives.
But it wasn’t easy to convey women’s issues as “newsworthy” in the Afghan male-dominated media outlets. Although Afghan women are present in the media, they rarely lead media outlets in Afghanistan, as my friend Zahra Joya wrote, “[i]t is Afghan men who decide what is “newsworthy” and what “matters” the most in Afghanistan. Women’s views are almost always excluded.”
Experiencing the exclusion first-hand, Zahra Joya decided to establish a media outlet that centers on women’s issues. In November 2020, she established Rukhshana Media, funding it from her personal saving. “Since then, Rukhshana Media has reported exclusively on issues that affect Afghan women, from the taboo of menstruation, child marriage, street harassment and economic hardship to violence and gender discrimination and what it means to live as a survivor of rape.”
But after months of supporting Rukhshana Media, she has reached the unfortunate conclusion that she can no longer financially back it. When she told me about her decision to close Rukhshana Media in our phone conversation, I volunteered to host a fundraising campaign on her behalf to help Rukhshana Media continue its work.
As more cities are falling to the Taliban, and more journalists are being targeted and killed, the world needs to hear the voices of Afghan people, and particularly the voices of Afghan women. In the past four months, over 50 media outlets are forced to close in Afghanistan. Please help Rukhshana Media to survive at this crucial time in Afghanistan history.
Learn more about the fundraising campaign here: