“Last year, I got selected as the Afghan Youth Representative to the United Nations for the year 2020. I felt honored and excited to represent our youth who are in many ways have been the victims of the last two decades of war in our country. So far, my journey has been full of achievements. I have been to various provinces to meet youth and listen to their concerns, demands, and thoughts mainly on the on-going peace negotiations and other issues that are affecting their lives. Amplifying the voice of our youth and conveying their messages to the international community has been at the forefront of my mission. I have strived to shed a light on the sacrifices they have made and have constantly asked the international community to not let us be the victims of the political settlements.
Throughout this journey, one thing I have come to realize even more and experience very closely is how hard it is for an Afghan woman to work in the patriarchal society of Afghanistan. A society where women are less likely to be seen and appreciated for their knowledge, insight, and achievements, and are more likely to be mocked and ridiculed for the way they dress, talk, and their physical traits. For instance, over the past year, I have received hundreds of hate messages telling me that the reason I have gotten to such a position is due to my appearance, and my mom and my husband’s political power. No one even talked about the fact that I have empathy toward my people and my country and want to take part in building it and being its voice in front of the international community. No one even mentioned that I have a good educational background and work experience and I am able to carry the job with integrity and honesty. In fact, there was an entire campaign happening on Twitter trying to share false news about me so that I get removed from my position. In addition to all this what even hurts me the most is that women have also taken part in such campaigns against me. It is unfortunate to see that instead of helping each other to rise and get better we are actively tearing each other apart..
However, despite all this, my love and commitment to serving my people and taking advantage of every opportunity that is available to benefit my country is unwavering and strong. One of my top priorities is to break all the stereotypes, taboos and stigmas, which believe that women are not strong and capable enough to bring a change, lead or represent a generation.”
Shkula Zadran, Kabul Afghanistan