by Christine Baksi
August 28, 2012
English and music double major Noorjahan Akbar ’14 has been featured in Forbes’ annual “Most Powerful Women in the World” issue, which profiles 100 women nominated by leaders in ten categories, including business, entrepreneurship, technology, public policy, sports and media. Akbar was nominated in the science and math category by global social-action executive Holly Gordon of 10×10: Educate Girls, Change the World. Other honorees in the category include Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and Intel executive Rosalind Hudnell.
Since coming to Dickinson from Kabul in 2010 to pursue an American education with assistance from the Afghan Girls Financial Assistance Fund (AGFAF), Akbar has made it her mission to help women in her home country achieve gender equality. In April 2011, Akbar co-founded Young Women for Change (YWC), a nonprofit organization of volunteer advocates committed to improving the lives of Afghan women through social and economic participation, political empowerment, advocacy and increased access to education.
Since its founding, YWC has formed a male advocacy group, organized monthly lectures on gender and women’s studies, collected books to build libraries in Kabul and Helmand and held the very first anti-street-harassment march in Afghan history. It soon will be conducting the first large-scale study of sexual harassment in Afghanistan.
Earlier this year, Akbar joined Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep, Gloria Steinem, Angelina Jolie and other influential women as a speaker at Newsweek’s and The Daily Beast’s third-annual Women in the World Summit in New York. Akbar also was featured in a USA Today article and a Fox News program about the efforts of the AGFAF, which was formed by Dickinson alumnus Leo Motiuk ’66.
To learn more about Akbar and her work with YWC, and to get a first-hand look at the challenges she faces working to improve the lives and rights of Afghan women, watch this ABC News special by foreign correspondent Trevor Bormann.