These resilient and powerful women are teaching us how to change the world

BBC broadcaster Lyse Doucet spent months interviewing inspiring women who have fought for and shaped democracy around the world.
“If I don’t fight, then I don’t exist.” They’re words of absolute defiance. But then, they came from an absolutely defiant woman. Shukria Barakzai is the Afghan ambassador to Norway, a politician, a journalist and a prominent Muslim feminist. She has campaigned against polygamy after her husband took a secret second wife; she was one of the first women to become a parliamentarian in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2004; and she survived a suicide bomb attack which set out to kill her. Four years later, Barakzai is still fighting.

“The thing is that it’s burned into her identity that she has to be a campaigner for women’s rights,” says Lyse Doucet, the BBC’s chief international correspondent, who interviewed Barakzai late last year for a five-part documentary airing on BBC Radio 4 this week. “It’s part of who she is, but that’s because it means so much to her. Her determination and commitment is staggering.”

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