Shabnam Salehi


Shabnam Salehi
Scholar hosted at uOttawa

Shabnam Salehi


Shabnam Salehi, a Visiting researcher at the University of Ottawa, is a scholar and a prominent women's rights activist from Afghanistan.

She started her academic journey in 2012 when she became an assistant professor at Kabul University. Since then, she has lectured courses on public policy with concentrations in human rights, gender equality, and women empowerment. In addition, she has taught policy, research, and leadership courses in numerous private higher education institutions. She served as a senior researcher in several local research institutions and thinks tanks on issues related to women's rights and gender-based policy reforms.

Shabnam served as a Commissioner and Head of the Women’s rights Promotion and Protection Unit (WPU) in the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) from 2019 until 2021. She contributed to restructuring the WPU and strengthened its potential. Under her leadership, WPU designed and implemented interventions that contributed to the protection and promotion of women's rights.

Shabnam advocated for women's participation in private and public institutions and helped strengthen women's decision-making training. She advocated and contributed to reform laws affecting marriage, virginity tests, divorce, transgender rights, and sexual harassment. She also engaged in government policy reforms on violence against women, female prisoners, and victims.

Since 2021, Shabnam is continuing her advocacy work for women's rights in Afghanistan from abroad by supporting monitoring and evaluating efforts.

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