Nargis Nehan “Iron Woman of Kabul by Bloomberg” migrated to Pakistan during civil war when she was just 12 years old. While her family’s priority was to meet the very basic needs of life, given the very high desire she had for education, her family supported her to complete her education. As soon as she graduated from high school, she started working for an international organization to support her family while pursuing her higher education in the evening. When the Interim Administration of Afghanistan was established, Ms. Nehan returned to Afghanistan to take part in country’s reconstruction.

Ms. Nehan has served public offices as Director General of the Treasury Department at the Ministry of Finance, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Education, and Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education. During her service, Ms. Nehan initiated several reform projects and implemented them successfully. Centralization and computerization of government revenues and expenditures, establishment of Treasury Single Account, establishment of the Grants Management Unit in Ministry of Education and facilitating development of Strategic Plan for Ministry of Higher Education are her major achievements. Ms. Nehan during her service in public sector earned the reputation of a patriot and a reformist woman.

Ms. Nehan after seven years of service in public sector felt her routine jobs are not satisfying her passion, soon she left the government and founded EQUALITY for Peace and Democracy (EPD) a civil society organization for empowering women and youth. As of now EPD is working in 16 provinces of Afghanistan. During this time Ms. Nehan also served as member of Supreme Council of Afghanistan Central Bank.

Ms. Nehan after establishment of National Unity Government once again joined the government, serving as Advisor to President for two years and Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum for almost three years. Her major achievements in the Ministry of Mines were development reform strategy, adoption of new minerals law and regulation, restructuring the ministry in line with roadmap which resulted downsizing more than 500 extra positions, computerization of revenue and cadaster management systems and making all mining contracts publicly available through a transparency portal for scrutiny. Currently besides advocating for women’s rights, she is a freelance consultant working for international organizations and firms.

Ms. Nehan is a role model in Afghanistan demonstrating capacity, commitment and dedication of Afghan women with a vision and determination.