Close-up Image of young Afghan girl appears on screen set against a bright blue sky.
Women and girls in Afghanistan have faced significant obstacles in their day-to-day lives.
Image of terraced Afghan farmers field with rock walls and shrubs. Barriers to education, health care and economic opportunity, as well as significant challenges to their human rights limited their ability to actively participate in their communities.
Farmer digs irrigation ditch with shovel in hard, dry soil.
And for those women and girls living in isolated and rural communities, these challenges were even more significant.
Motion graphic of globe depicting mortality rates.
Afghanistan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. 1 woman dies every 29 minutes due to pregnancy-related complications.
Image of girls in an Afghan classroom.
Afghan women also have some of the lowest literacy rates in the world.
Female Afghan health worker in Hospital takes the temperature of young afghan child.
During the last decade, things have begun to change.
Afghan woman looking after young children.
Thanks to the dedication of Afghans, and with the support of countries such as Canada, here are now opportunities for Afghan women and girls to overcome some of these obstacles.
Afghan woman gives prescription to pharmacist.
Through support from partners such as UNICEF, Canada has helped improve access to health care by increasing the number of female health care workers and health care facilities in Afghanistan.
Exterior of Afghan School.
Today, 66% of Afghans can reach primary health care services within a two hours walking distance, a significant improvement from only 9% in 2000.
Teenage Afghan girls sitting in a classroom.
Also, thanks in part to organizations such as the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada and BRAC Afghanistan, there are more female teachers trained than ever before, allowing girls to attend school.
Afghan mother and daughter in flower store.
Meanwhile, projects that support literacy training and skills development mean that more women and girls learn to read and obtain new skills in marketable trades.
Afghan women working at a polling station.
On so many levels, Afghan women are playing a more visible and active role in Afghan life.
Afghan woman seals a ballot box at voting station.
With the support of Canada, UN Women and the National Democratic Institute, female participation in politics has increased.
Motion Graphic depicting Afghan women's role in elections.
In the 2010 Afghan Parliamentary elections, 406 women ran for election—a record number.
Image of professional Afghan women talking. Today in Afghanistan, women make up 27.7% of Afghanistan's Parliamentarians.
Image of afghan women involved in business discussions.
Women also play an active role in the decision-making process for their communities.
Large meeting of Afghan women.
It is inspiring to witness the pivotal role that women play in Afghan life, empowering themselves and future generations of Afghan girls.
Close-up of young Afghan girl.
And while we recognize this progress, we should also bear in mind that there is still much work to be done.
Close-up of three smiling Afghan girls.
Therefore, improving the lives of women and girls will continue to be a central focus of Canada's work in Afghanistan, as we help advance their rights and welfare, and support their voices.