By Rebecca Zborowski
A “Shadow Summit” about Afghan women was held Sunday at the Swissôtel in Chicago.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright headlined the collection of panelists that included members of Congress and various women’s rights advocates from the U.S. and Middle East.
“The discussion of women always seems to be an afterthought, when in fact the treatment of women is central to American foreign policy,” Albright said. “The reason we’re in Afghanistan at all is to make a better society for Afghans and that won’t happen unless women are part of the solution.”
Panelists at the Shadow Summit for Afghan Women (Photo Credit: Rebecca Zborowski)
The summit was organized by activist group Amnesty International to answer the complex question of how to secure the role of women in Afghanistan in the wake of war. It also addressed how to rebuild the nation and ensure the protection of the country’s female citizens.
Panelist and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said even as the U.S. withdraws troops, resources and people need to be put in place to advance the women of Afghanistan – a process she called “capacity-building.” She said there’s a popular perception that it’s not possible to protect the women of the nation and withdraw military by 2014.