Afghan journalist Zahra Joya among Time's '2022 Women of the Year' for reporting on women's rights

Afghan journalist Zahra Joya among Time's '2022 Women of the Year' for reporting on women's rights
Time magazine has listed Afghan journalist Zahra Joya, who founded a media outlet dedicated to sharing female stories, as one of their 2022 'Women of the Year'.
2 min read
05 March, 2022
The UN have accused the Taliban of 'attempting to erase women and girls from public life' [source: Getty]

Afghan journalist Zahra Joya has been chosen as one of Time magazine's "2022 Women of the Year" for her reporting on women's rights under the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

Joya, who fled to the UK after the insurgents seized control of Kabul last summer, founded Rukhshana Media, an organisation dedicated to sharing female voices across Afghanistan. 

The 29-year-old, currently staying at a hotel in central London and waiting for her asylum status to be confirmed, has continued to collaborate with reporters inside her home country to document life under the new insurgent regime. 

"It is an honour to be listed by Time as one of their twelve women of the year, 2022. At Rukhshana Media we will continue to give a voice to Afghan women," Joya wrote on Twitter. 

"I am especially honoured to be chosen at a time when the world is witnessing another horrific war unfold, in Ukraine, and another refugee crisis," she said.

Interviewed by Angelina Jolie for Time, the journalist said she used to dress up as a boy in order to go to school when the Tablian were last in power from 1996 to 2001. 

Following the insurgents' downfall, she attended university to become a lawyer, but then switched to journalism so she could share stories from her community. 

Joya told Jolie that being separated from her family in the wake of the Taliban's return to power was difficult. 

"Every time we call [my father], he cries. It is very difficult," she said. 

The journalist stressed in her interview that the Taliban "had not changed" and said they should not be recognised by the international community until their government protects women's rights

Describing her work as an editor, Joya added: "We are asking women who protest to write their experience and share their experience. It is very painful and sad. 

"Honestly, we don’t do simple journalism these days; we are trying to write for our freedom."

Joya is one of the hundreds of Afghans across the world waiting to hear about their asylum status after fleeing the Taliban.

A source told The New Arab earlier this week that around 12,000 Afghans in the UK  are awaiting relocation or were stuck in UK Home Office accommodation. 

Other women honoured in Time’s list were British-Lebanese barrister Amal Clooney and American actress, director and producer Kerry Washington.