This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Wednesday 5 June 2024, 8pm to 9pm
  • Location: Online only
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

In August 2021, Kabul fell to the Taliban. Overnight, life for women across Afghanistan changed. The national women's football team faced the imminent threat of execution, just for playing sport. Already in exile, former Captain Khalida Popal orchestrated a huge international evacuation strategy to get the players out of Kabul and into safety in the UK, Portugal and Australia.

From growing up under the original Taliban regime as a child, advocating for women's rights under the threat of pervasive misogyny and exposing widespread sexual abuse in female sports - forcing FIFA and Interpol to act against the former president of the Afghan Football Association - to fleeing for her life and saving hundreds of women by smuggling them out of the country, this is the behind-the-scenes story of a woman turning to face her oppressors, for the women left behind.

Join Khalida, author of the gripping memoir My Beautiful Sisters, for a story of courage, the power of teamwork against all odds and the existence of hope in dark times.

This event will take place live on Zoom Webinar. You will receive a link to join a couple of days before the event and a reminder an hour before. During the event, you can ask questions via a Q&A function, but audience cameras and microphones will remain muted throughout.

Book sales

You can buy copies of many of our speakers’ books from Fox Lane Books, a local independent bookseller and Festival partner. In some cases, author signed bookplates are available too. 

About the speaker

Khalida Popal is an Afghan football player and director. She is the founder and director of Girl Power Organization, the Program and Event Director of the Afghanistan Women's National Football Team, Ambassador to Street Child World Cup, and the Event Manager & Mentor/ Refugee Consultant in COLUMN. She is also the former leader of the Afghanistan women's Football Committee, former Finance Officer of the Afghanistan Football Federation, former captain of the Afghanistan Women's National Football Team, and former football coach of the under-17 and under-15 women's football teams in Afghanistan.


University of York