January 5, 2017 Kabul, Afghanistan —It is Friday noon in Kabul, Afghanistan, and men dressed in traditional clothes hurry to mosques to pray in congregation. Friday prayers are usually men’s business, and during the Taliban rule in the 1990s, women were not allowed in mosques. But in one neighborhood in the city, an imam has kept the doors of his mosque open to women for 12 years now. He often preaches about women’s rights in Islam – that women are equal to men and have the right to work and study.
This is all because of a woman named Jamila Afghani and the gender-sensitivity training program she has created.
Ms. Afghani has a friendly smile that hides all that she has had to endure in life. A women’s rights activist and Islamic scholar in Afghanistan, she has battled discrimination, as well as disability, since childhood. But it was access to …