The 2004 presidential elections that saw Hamid Karzai voted into office were a watershed moment in our history, as women not only voted but were voted into office. There were many irregularities, and in 2009 the reports of fraud, voter intimidation and violence were widespread. But that didn't deter us. In 2014 we saw the peaceful transition of power when Karzai reached his term limit--and that's a great step forward for Afghanistan.
I was selected as the Afghanistan representative for the annual Summit of Girls-20, a female empowerment program, in Beijing, China last year. Moreover, I have written my Bachelor's Degree thesis on female entrepreneurship as a way to reduce poverty in Afghanistan. I am the Founder of the organization, 40 Splendid Girls, that seeks to empower Afghan women by providing seed funding for entrepreneurship. I have been a guest speaker on several Afghan national television programs, sharing my views about female empowerment in Afghanistan.
I have had the good fortune to study outside of Afghanistan and view my country from the outside. Being an international student opened my eyes to the biases and misconceptions with which other people view my country. That's why I believe that it's so important to share my experience.