In the mid-1990s, Afghan women representatives gathering at the ACBAR office in Peshawar, Pakistan brought the idea of establishing a platform where Afghan women could share their observations and concerns as well as find ways for solving them. With this the idea of a Network, where women’s issues could be discussed in detail, was born. After the United Nations Fourth World Conference on women in Beijing, China, which was attended by a group of Afghan women from various organisations and UN agencies, a network to promote unity and cooperation among Afghan women was formed. Inspired by women’s movement in different parts of the world, in 1995 the participants along with other Afghan women decided to establish the Afghan Women’s Network (AWN).
The Afghan Women’s Network (AWN) is a cornerstone of Afghanistan’s fledging women’s movement, serving as a well-established network for the growing number of women’s organizations operating in the country. AWN has had a strong presence in Kabul, Herat and Jalalabad, while also working through local partners in several Afghan provinces. AWN fulfills the function of a network of organizations, as well as undertaking its own projects addressing issues such as gender-based violence, youth empowerment and girls' education.
The operating environment for women’s organizations in Afghanistan is rapidly evolving, as reconstruction and development efforts continue with varying rates of success amidst an unstable peace and shifting religious, political and social contexts facing women and girls. AWN sits at the epicenter of this environment, representing the interests of over 65 member organizations.