October 7th, 2021 | Uplift, a series: Conversations to raise awareness, lift voices, inspire
(Learn more about ICRW’s work on gender-based violence, feminist foreign policy, men and masculinities, child marriage in the Middle East and North Africa – prevalence in regions affected by conflict, and preventing violence in emergency settings)
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a bestselling author, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations Women and Foreign Policy Program, and member of ICRW’s Leadership Council. She also works in private sector roles in emerging technology for national security. Gayle, a TED forum speaker who until 2004 covered politics for ABC News, has spoken and written extensively on topics including national security, post-conflict zones, entrepreneurship, child marriage, and equality for women and girls. She has written three books that have appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana (2011), which is about a young Afghan entrepreneur who supported her community under the Taliban; Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield (2015), also set in Afghanistan; and The Daughters of Kobani, which is an account of women in the Kurdish militia who took on the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.
Recently, we caught up with Gayle for an interview.
Gayle, thank you for joining us today. And thank you for your staunch advocacy for gender equality and heightened humanitarian action during conflicts and security threats. Given the recent fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban immediately following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, as well as the anticipated impact on women and girls in particular, your research and understanding of the intricacies of the local context in Afghanistan could not be more relevant and timely. Gayle, how do you see the situation in Afghanistan unfolding over the coming weeks and months?
GAYLE: I’ve always believed that Afghan women are truly their own most outstanding advocates for change. It was never a question of whether they would lead or would push families through very difficult times. I think the question has just been whether the world would support them.