Who We Are

Shazia Z. Rafi

Shazia Z. Rafi

Shazia Z. Rafi is former Secretary-General of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) from 1996-2013 and was the first woman on the ballot and runner-up finalist for the Inter-Parliamentary Union Secretary-General election. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, she graduated from Bryn Mawr College and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.  She lives in New York City and her website is www.shaziarafi.com.

Shazia Z. Rafi is a WMC SheSource expert on international security, arms control, international law, international treaties, international women’s rights, international human rights policy and violations, political Islam, Africa, Asia, diplomacy, environment, international issues, Middle East and North Africa, politics, and religion. 

Articles

Featured Columns

Is the US Doing Enough to Push for a Female Leader of the UN?

Is the US Doing Enough to Push for a Female Leader of the UN?

September 12, 2016

As the United Nations General Assembly gathers this week, the Security Council will consider candidates to replace the current secretary-general. Will entrenched sexism get in the way of choosing a woman for the job? More »

Will 2016 Be the Year for a Woman UN Secretary-General?

Will 2016 Be the Year for a Woman UN Secretary-General?

January 4, 2016

The movement to elect the first woman United Nations Secretary-General is gaining momentum as the year begins. More »

Women as Peacemakers and Peacekeepers: Having Women at the Table Means a More Lasting Peace

Women as Peacemakers and Peacekeepers: Having Women at the Table Means a More Lasting Peace

October 21, 2015

A new UN report issues a strong call for bringing more women to the table in peace negotiations and all aspects of peacekeeping. More »

Taking Stock of Women in Media Globally

June 18, 2015

The UN and other international groups are taking a look at the status of women in the media at a time of crisis for freedom of expression and journalist safety. More »

New UN Report Says Women Still Far From Pay Equity

April 29, 2015

While women still lag behind men by almost any economic measure, Shazia Rafi reports that all over the world, advocates are building momentum to bring us closer to equality. More »

Who Runs the World?

Who Runs the World?

March 26, 2015

The goal from Beijing was for women to be 30 percent of the world’s leaders. We’re not there yet. More »

The World Agrees: No Right to Bear Unregulated Arms

The World Agrees: No Right to Bear Unregulated Arms

September 25, 2014

Thanks in part to the unprecedented leadership and persistence of women, today marks the passage of a global Arms Trade Treaty. More »

Laying Claim to Our Bodies

Laying Claim to Our Bodies

May 7, 2014

As parliament considers a law to roll back abortion rights, women in Spain are trying a novel approach to assert ownership of their bodies. More »

Pakistan—The Last Destination of the Stars

Pakistan—The Last Destination of the Stars

March 29, 2013

The author, fresh from a family visit, reflects on how Pakistan arrived at this moment, and what the United States can do to support women and democracy there. More »

Treaty to Control Arms Trade Derailed For Now

Treaty to Control Arms Trade Derailed For Now

August 7, 2012

The author, secretary-general of Parliamentarians for Global Action, explains how pre-election timidity has caused the United States to stymie an international effort to regulate the dangerous arms trade industry. More »

Tunisia’s Women—Defying the Odds

Tunisia’s Women—Defying the Odds

April 10, 2012

The author, secretary-general of Parliamentarians for Global Action, writes that Tunisia is finding its own way while Islamist movements gain power in the region. More »

The UN Steps Up to Women's Rights Challenges

The UN Steps Up to Women's Rights Challenges

September 23, 2010

Upon the appointment of Michelle Bachelet to head the UN's promising new women's agency, Shazia Z. Rafi, secretary-general of Parliamentarians for Global Action, explains how an international coalition of women effectively negotiated the UN power process to get us to this point. More »

Bactria Revisited: Does Alexander Have Lessons for Obama in Afghanistan?

Bactria Revisited: Does Alexander Have Lessons for Obama in Afghanistan?

April 16, 2010

The Pakhtuns of Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan haven’t always rejected influences from the West. The author suggests that Alexander the Great’s success in the 4th Century B.C. may hold a key to integrating Afghanistan into the international community—in a way that would help protect and empower women in the region. More »

Morituri te Salutant: On a “Surge” in Afghanistan

December 8, 2009

The author, an expert on parliamentary diplomacy, says we must focus today on a strengthened political process to successfully end international military engagement in Afghanistan—and that process must respect the rights of women. More »

September 12th—The Long Day After

September 12th—The Long Day After

September 14, 2009

The author, a Pakistan-born New Yorker, connects our collective sorrow on 9/11 to what terrorism and its aftermath continue to take away. More »

Pakistan’s Little Rock Nine

August 6, 2009

Protecting schoolgirls forced to face down the Taliban mob in the Swat valley—education is the place to start, writes the author, toward an equitable and secure future. More »

Addressing the Muslim World, President Obama Reached Well Beyond the Arab Dignitaries

June 8, 2009

The author wonders if his pre-speech visit to a kingdom where women are oppressed weakens his appeal on behalf of women’s rights. More »

Democracy and Pandora’s Box: Family Laws in Afghanistan

April 20, 2009

For women in Afghanistan, the promise of democracy seems not to include equality, nor protection from the potential of domestic violence. Here, the secretary general of Parliamentarians for Global Action explains the politics behind the proposed oppressive law regulating Shia marriages. More »

New U.S. Policy in AfPak: Looking for Mr. Moderate Taliban

New U.S. Policy in AfPak: Looking for Mr. Moderate Taliban

March 16, 2009

To those who advocate making peace with certain elements of the Taliban, the author, who has worked to secure human rights with Pakistani legislators across the ideological spectrum, argues against any prospective deal that sacrifices women’s empowerment. More »

Turning the Tide against the Taliban: What Works

Turning the Tide against the Taliban: What Works

February 3, 2009

The Obama Administration must empower the Pakistani people, who have already shown that they’re ready and able to stand up against the forces oppressing women and girls in the valley of Swat and elsewhere. Here, the secretary-general of Parliamentarians for Global Action, tells us how. More »

Camelot Revisited—What’s Lost in Pakistan

January 15, 2008

WMC Commentary: “Charlie Wilson’s War” and Pakistan at a Crossroads

December 3, 2007

Benazir Bhutto—Will a Third Term Be the Charm?

October 8, 2007