1.5 Million Afghani Widows, Illiterate, Earning $16/Month and Often Forced to Prostitute Themselves

The following report from IRIN tells the ghastly truth of what it is like for women in the aftermath of decades of militarism in Afghanistan:

"There over 1.5 million widows out of an estimated 26.6 million people in Afghanistan, according to Beyond 9/11, a US-based nonprofit group that provides direct financial support to Afghan widows and their children. Some 50,000-70,000 widows live in Kabul alone, it says.

The government of Afghanistan does not have an accurate figure for the number of widows in the country, but some officials say there are more than 1.5 million.

Most widows illiterate

"The average age of an Afghan widow is just 35 years, and 94 percent of them are unable to read and write," Deborah Zalesne, a board member of the Beyond 9/11 and a law professor at the City University of New York, told IRIN.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up