Applaud Sesame Street for Inclusion of Afghan Character

Target: Sesame Workshop CEO Jeffrey Dunn

Goal: Thank Sesame Workshop for creating a character that promotes women’s rights in Afghanistan.

According to the United Nations, Afghanistan ranks 171st out of 188 countries on women’s involvement in government, education and employment outside the home. Afghan women face a plethora of challenges throughout their lives — some are child brides, some are imprisoned for leaving abusive husbands and some are the victims of needless violence. Human rights groups are working to right these wrongs against women, but the latest success comes from an unexpected place: Sesame Street.

The Afghan version of Sesame Street has introduced a new character — a young Afghan girl named Zari who will promote women’s rights and discuss matters of health and well-being. Giving children a character who looks and acts like them could do wonders for the women’s rights movement in Afghanistan. Young girls are empowered to take a strong stance about their futures and what they are capable of. Sesame Workshop has made it a point to also engage young boys about the roles of women in society. By introducing Zari, Sesame Workshop is breaking down deeply held perceptions and beliefs to give women a stronger voice and sense of empowerment throughout Afghanistan.

Please thank Sesame Workshop CEO Jeffery Dunn for the work his company is doing to change the futures of young girls in Afghanistan through characters like Zari.


Dear Mr. Dunn,

The introduction of puppet Zari on Afghanistan’s version of Sesame Street is unprecedented and has the power to change the lives of many.

Afghan women struggle from a young age in a male-dominated society that often dictates their education, employment, personal relationships and safety. Afghanistan has one of the lowest rates globally of women who are involved in government, outside employment and education. Zari has the power to show young girls what they are capable of and encourage them to dream big to play an active role outside of their homes as they grow older.

Your efforts to engage boys as well as girls could shift preconceptions of what a woman’s role is in society from a young age. Working against human rights violations such as child marriages and domestic violence is not the work of women alone — it requires both men and women to act and effect change.

Sesame Workshop has been an educational institution and a child favorite for decades. Including women’s rights in your programming to an area that has suffered is incredible. Thank you for thinking broadly about Afghanistan’s young girls, their potential, and using your platform to inspire change and empowerment.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Gavin St. Ours

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One Comment

  1. Barbara Tomlinson says:

    Fantastically good Idea!

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