Boris Johnson’s Call for Recognition of Women’s Football and a Plea to Engage with the Taliban

In a recent article, Boris Johnson expressed his confidence in the success of the Lionesses, England’s women’s football team, as they faced the Spanish team in a major international tournament.

He highlighted the significance of this moment, suggesting that regardless of the outcome, the Lionesses had already achieved a remarkable feat by reaching the final of a FIFA football World Cup for the first time since 1966.

Johnson applauded their journey, emphasizing the cultural impact of women’s football on a global scale.

The Unprecedented Growth of Women’s Football Worldwide

Johnson underscored the exponential growth of women’s football as a global phenomenon.

He pointed out that over two billion people around the world were expected to tune in to watch the women’s World Cup, a substantial increase from the 1.19 billion viewers in 2019.

This surge in interest speaks to the growing recognition and popularity of women’s football, a development that Johnson believes everyone should appreciate.

Championing Women’s Football for All, Including the Taliban

Johnson took a bold stance by expressing his desire to have certain male politicians watch women’s football to better understand the excitement and passion it evokes.

He proposed that these politicians, specifically referring to the all-male government of the UK, needed to acknowledge the skill, courage, and talent exhibited by the Lionesses, which is admired by people of all genders and backgrounds.

Drawing a Stark Contrast: Women’s Football in Afghanistan Under Taliban Rule

Shifting his focus to a more somber topic, Johnson lamented the dire state of women’s football in Afghanistan, especially in the wake of Taliban rule.

He highlighted the devastating consequences of the Taliban’s oppressive policies, which included the erasure of women’s involvement in sports and education.

Johnson underscored the tragedy of girls being denied access to education, the right to work, and basic freedoms.

Reflections on the Western Exit from Afghanistan

Addressing the Western exit from Afghanistan, Johnson acknowledged the complex decisions that led to the withdrawal of foreign forces.

He delved into the debates surrounding this decision and recognized that the withdrawal was not without its challenges and consequences.

He reflected on the hope that the Afghan army would withstand the Taliban’s advances but acknowledged that without sustained support, they were ill-equipped to resist.

Engaging with the Taliban: A Moral Imperative

As discussions about engaging with the Taliban emerged, Johnson underscored the importance of holding the Taliban accountable for their actions and policies.

He stressed that any aid or investment must be contingent on a change in behavior, particularly in their treatment of women and girls.

Johnson vehemently opposed the notion of cultural relativism and argued that advocating for gender equality and education was a matter of human decency rather than cultural imperialism.

Priorities for Engaging with the Taliban

Johnson proposed specific conditions for engaging with the Taliban.

He urged them to guarantee a 12-year education for every girl and to reinstate women’s involvement in activities like football.

He firmly believed that these measures would not only promote gender equality but also contribute to the overall well-being and development of Afghan society.

In conclusion, Boris Johnson’s article discussed the transformational impact of women’s football, the challenges faced by Afghan women under Taliban rule, and the ethical imperative to promote gender equality and education.

He called for a principled approach to engaging with the Taliban that prioritizes the rights and well-being of women and girls.

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