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V-Day and Equality Now in Afghanistan for Ground-Breaking Roundtable Talks


V-Day Expands Its Focus On Women And War as Sponsor of Kabul Talks and Sponsor of NYC Special Performance of "Necessary Targets" for the UN Commission On The Status Of Women.

Founder/playwright Eve Ensler, Equality Now Founder/President Jessica Neuwirth, Afghan Women's Organization Founder/Director Adeena Niazi, and V-Day Special Representative Hibaaq Osman join 30 grassroots Afghan women leaders on March 9-10 in Kabul

Contact: Susan Celia Swan for V-Day, (212) 445-3288,

March 7, 2002

Eve Ensler (V-Day Founder/Playwright), Jessica Neuwirth (Founder/President, Equality Now), Addena Niaza (Afghan Women's Organization), and Hibaaq Osman (V-Day) are holding their first meetings in Kabul with Afghan women leaders since the defeat of the Taliban to discuss historic next steps for Afghan women. More than 30 prominent Afghan women leaders have traveled against all odds from Kandahar, Jalalabad, Herat, and other regions for the roundtable discussions scheduled to take place in March 9-10. A follow up to the Afghan Women's Summit For Democracy (held in Brussels in December), the Kabul talks will focus on their current conditions, women's rights progress, and strategies for reconstruction. Talks will coincide with International Women's Day (March 8).

For Ensler, who traveled underground in Afghanistan two years ago, her return to Afghanistan is timely on many levels, "From Kosovo to Kabul, women are often the targets of war but in order for peace to be restored, they must be at the center of the solution. We are focusing on bringing the stories of these women to the world. These stories must be told if we are going to stop this from happening again." In Afghanistan, V-Day has partnered with Broadcast News Network's in-country team, who will provide a broad range of logistical, operational, and editorial support service designed to permit the group to securely meet and to film the talks for future broadcast in the U.S. and around the world.

The Kabul talks coincide with the opening of Ensler's play "Necessary Targets" Off-Broadway in NYC ( Based on interviews with numerous women who survived the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, "Necessary Targets" provides a timely reminder of the effects of war on women in America and overseas. This Sunday, March 10, the matinee will be a special performance for participants in the UN Commission on the Status of Women meetings, followed by a panel discussion "No Women, No Peace: The Urgency of Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325", moderated by Cora Weiss, Hague Appeal for Peace. (Play 3:00-4:30PM, Panel Discussion 4:30-5:30PM, General public is welcome, for reservations contact Judy Corcoran (212) 315-2449).

While in Kabul, Ensler will also deliver the much-needed first phase in the development of a working telecommunications infrastructure for the Afghan women leaders with the delivery of state of the art satellite phone systems outfitted with solar chargers and free airtime. At this time, there is no traditional phone service in Afghanistan and satellite phones remain both scarce and expensive. This infrastructure will allow Afghan women in all regions of the country to communicate with each other, and with their advocates in the west.

Sponsored by V-Day, the global movement to stop violence against women and girls and a long-time advocate for Afghan women, the immediate goal for the talks are fourfold: (1) To provide a forum for Afghan women leaders from all regions and ethnic groups to discuss the issues facing their country; (2) To aid in making the Brussels Proclamation a living document for Afghan women; (3) To assess immediate needs to determine V-Day funding efforts for Afghan women; (4) To bring the message of Afghan women back to women in the west, and around the world, through the "Afghanistan is Everywhere" campaign and the video documenting the Kabul roundtable discussions.

The Kabul talks will address progress towards enacting the Brussels Proclamation, the blueprint that outlines in detail the Afghan Women's Summit's comprehensive vision for the future and their immediate, and still pending, reconstruction needs. The document carried the message that significant portions of any international aid should go to projects benefiting women, as well as a full restoration of women's rights as citizens and the participation of women in drafting new laws and a future constitution and addresses four central components of Afghan society: education and culture, healthcare, refugees and human rights. Following the daily talks from 8:00AM-5:00PM, the evening sessions include traditional dinner, dancing, entertainment and art programs.

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About The Afghan Women's Summit for Democracy:

The Afghan Women's Summit was a two-day global gathering of Afghan women held in Brussels December 4-5, 2001. Over 40 grassroots Afghan women leaders, broadly representative of women in Afghanistan, took part in the Summit and issued the Brussels Proclamation. The goal of the Summit was to bring the voices of the Afghan women into the current international political discourse, ensuring that their message is heard and that women have equal say and rights in the new government. Following the Summit, a delegation of six Afghan women from the meeting carried their message to key political decision-makers around the world, including the United Nations, Congress, the State Department, European Parliament, and key media and cultural leaders. The Afghan Women's Summit was organized by women's rights organizations from around the world - European Women's Lobby, Equality Now, V-Day, the Center for Strategic Initiatives of Women, and The Feminist Majority, in collaboration with the Gender Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and UNIFEM.

About V-Day:

V-Day is a global movement that helps anti-violence organizations throughout the world continue and expand their core work on the ground, while drawing public attention to the larger fight to stop worldwide violence (including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual slavery) against women and girls. The concept for V-Day was borne out of two of V-Day Founder Eve Ensler's plays: "Necessary Targets" and "The Vagina Monologues." V-Day, a non-profit corporation, distributes funds to grassroots national, and international organizations and programs that work to stop violence against women and girls. In just five years, V-Day has raised over $7 million and was recently named one of Worth Magazine's "100 Best Charities".

About Equality Now:

Equality Now is an international human rights organization working to end violence and discrimination against women. Issues of concern include rape, domestic violence, trafficking of women, female genital mutilation, denial of reproductive rights, equal access to education and employment, and political participation of women. Through its Women's Action Network, which has 25,000 members in more than one hundred countries around the world, Equality Now highlights human rights violations against women and girls and mobilizes public pressure to stop them.

About "Necessary Targets":

"Necessary Targets," the new play by Eve Ensler, is directed by Michael Wilson and stars Tony and Emmy Award-winner and two-time Oscar nominee Shirley Knight and film and stage star Diane Venora. In "Necessary Targets," two American women, a Park Avenue psychiatrist and an ambitious young writer, travel to Bosnia to help women refugees confront their memories of war. Based on interviews conducted by Eve Ensler with numerous women who survived the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, "Necessary Targets," is a timely reminder of how America struggles to define its relationship to the rest of the world. At the Variety Arts Theatre, 110 Third Avenue at 14th Street, NYC.

About BNN:

Since 1983, BNN, the largest independent producer of news and documentary has been at the forefront of both production and innovation. The company has produced hundreds of hours of news documentary programming for clients that include A&E, CNN, CBS, CourtTV, NBC, RTL and the BBC. Most recently, the company produced the first ever High Definition TV reports from a warzone, with Chief Correspondent Peter Arnett and a series of programs that took an extraordinary look at the destruction of the World Trade Center -- 24 Hours at Ground Zero for MSNBC and Voices from Ground Zero for TLC. Visit the company online at