Women’s rights in Afghanistan: What has been gained, and what is at risk

Mellissa Fung was an inaugural recipient of the Fellowship for International Development Reporting in 2015. Her reporting project focused on women’s rights in post-NATO Afghanistan.

Read the article: Two faces; seven years. A reporter belatedly files her reporting on the refugees of AfghanistanToronto Star, December 12, 2015

Watch the documentary: Losing AfghanistanGlobal 16X9, December 12, 2015

Read the Global News blog:


The issue of women’s rights in Afghanistan has for years been of great interest to me. It is one of the reasons Canadians believed we joined the military effort there – to liberate women and give them back their rights. Now that our military has withdrawn, the country – and its women – don’t receive the kind of coverage in the press that it once commanded. And it’s an important time because the gains that have been made over the last 12 or so years are at risk if they are not protected.

It’s important to continue raising awareness about issues in the developing world because Canada can play a major role in on the world stage when it comes to foreign aid. The world is a lot smaller, and Canadians have always been generous with those less fortunate, so reporting on these issues can help open Canadians’ eyes to what is going on outside our borders, and perhaps inspire us to think about how we can help.


Award-winning journalist and best-selling author Mellissa Fung has been reporting on Canadian and world affairs for the last 20 years. She covered the war in Afghanistan for the CBC, and produced the award-winning documentaries Canada’s Ugly Secret and No Country for Horses. She received the prestigious Gracie Award for her interview Comparing Notes from Captivity. Her bestselling first book, Under an Afghan Sky, chronicles her experience as a hostage after she was kidnapped while on assignment in Afghanistan in 2008. In the last several years, Fung has returned to Afghanistan to continue reporting on the challenges that exist there, particularly for women and children. In addition to the CBC, her work has appeared in The WalrusThe Toronto StarGlobalPost, and PBS among other media outlets. Fung lives in London, United Kingdom.

Fellowship for International Development Reporting

The Fellowship for International Development Reporting encouraged journalists to push the boundaries of daily foreign coverage – which is often focused on disaster or crisis – and set new standards for reporting on the developing world. Fellowship recipients were provided with $25,000 to undertake a substantial reporting project which helps Canadians develop a greater understanding of the complex issues facing the developing world.

The Fellowship has two objectives: to encourage ambitious foreign reporting during an era of tighter news budgets; and, to foster a community of Canadian journalists who share an interest in reporting original topics from the developing world.

The Fellowship for International Development Reporting was a joint initiative of the Canadian Association of Journalists(CAJ) and Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC).