BBC to dedicate half of its 100 Women list 2021 to the women of Afghanistan

BBC 100 Women will return on Tuesday 7th December to shine a spotlight on women’s experiences around the world with three days of special interviews, documentaries, features and digital content across the BBC’s UK and international TV and radio services and online


BBC World Service

Half of this year’s BBC 100 Women list will be made up of Afghan women, and the whole season will have a strong focus on their stories and voices.

The resurgence of the Taliban in August 2021 has changed the lives of millions of Afghan women – with girls banned from receiving secondary education, the ministry for women’s affairs being disbanded, and women in many cases told not to return to work. This year’s list will recognise their stories, the scope of their bravery and their achievements as they reset their lives.

Alongside this, BBC 100 Women will also be celebrating women from every corner of the world who are hitting “reset” - the climate activists and grassroots leaders, international CEOs and global megastars, who are each playing their part to reinvent our society, our culture and our world after the global pandemic has forced so many of us to reassess the way we live.

Claire Williams, Editor of 100 Women says: “For the first time we are dedicating half of this year’s 100 Women list to women from one country – Afghanistan. We want to recognise the bravery and the strength of Afghan women as they reset their lives. Returning for its ninth year, 100 Women will celebrate the achievements of women from grassroots activists to global leaders. The season will highlight and amplify these trailblazing women who are creating a bold, new future.”

Valeria Perasso, Lead Producer of 100 Women says: “100 Women will use the incredible reach of the BBC’s 42 Language Services that make up the World Service, to tell the stories of women around the globe who are hitting reset – and creating lasting change. 2021 has been a year when many women, especially those in Afghanistan, have had to reinvent their lives.”

The 100 Women List
This year’s season kicks off with the launch of the BBC 100 Women List, celebrating inspirational and influential often unheard women from across the globe – from high-profile names to unsung heroes. By dedicating half of this year’s list to the women of Afghanistan, BBC 100 Women will focus on their stories, their everyday lives and their fight for the future.

Urgent letters from Afghanistan
BBC 100 Women has brought together female leaders from around the world to exchange letters with women in Afghanistan who share their passions. From football to fashion, activism to law, these women are personally trying to deepen their understanding of the realities of life for Afghan women under the Taliban, whilst using their platforms to uplift and share the urgent messages these women want the world to hear.

Amongst those taking part in this powerful letter exchange are footballer Megan Rapinoe and a young woman who can no longer play football in her country, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC and a prosecutor in hiding, and former supermodel and refugee Halima Aden and a lecturer who has fled the country. The letters will be shared across BBC’s UK and international TV, radio and online platforms.

100 Women in Conversation
BBC 100 Women will be broadcasting three exclusive in-depth interviews with some of the high-profile names from this year’s 100 Women list. The interviews, which will air on BBC World News and World Service English, will give insight into these women’s experiences, careers and achievements across the spheres of film, literature and fashion.

Other documentaries and programmes airing throughout the season will include:

The Eco Prime Minister: Women on the Frontline of the Climate Emergency - BBC World Service Gender and Identity reporter, Megha Mohan, exclusively follows Samoa’s first female leader Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa, and other female leaders and activists in the Pacific Islands, to ask whether female leaders in the most climate vulnerable region in the world, with the lowest female parliamentary representation, can save their people.

Mothers Reborn - This BBC 100 Women documentary takes a look at the misunderstood world of hyper realistic reborn dolls in Poland, which are helping women through infertility and loss of a child as well as with depression and anxiety, and hitting reset on the gender imbalance that often goes hand-in-hand with motherhood.

The Future of Fashion - Halima Aden, the world's first hijab-wearing supermodel meets US fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger to talk diversity, and how to go beyond tokenism to see real change in the fashion industry. Halima and Tommy share their own stories, hear the experiences of young, diverse models and discuss what a truly inclusive global fashion industry would look and feel like.

BBC 100 Women 2021 launches on Tuesday 7th December, when the list of 100 inspiring and influential women will be revealed on the BBC 100 Women website. BBC 100 Women is powered, co-produced and inspired by the BBC’s 42 language services, with content available across BBC World News, BBC World Service, and

November 29, 2021 4:00am ET by BBC World Service  

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