Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: September 6, 2007
Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson on Thursday hosted a group of
Afghani business women at the state Capitol, and explained how
business is conducted in the Senate Chamber.
Afghan Business Women Impressed with Oklahoma Visit, Capitol
Wilcoxson stood at her desk in the
Senate Chamber and explained how the members debated and voted on
bills. She laughed that some of her fellow Senators had given her a
wooden “soap box” to stand on so she could be seen when she
addressed the Chamber because she was the shortest of the 48
members. It all was part of a State Capitol tour on Thursday for
Afghan business women visiting the United States.
“I think it’s exciting and fun…it’s wonderful to meet women from
other parts of the world who have the same aspirations that women in
Oklahoma have,” said Wilcoxson, R-Oklahoma City.
The business owners are in the U.S. working on a high level
business training and mentoring program called “Peace Through
Business,” sponsored by the Women Impacting Public Policy Institute,
headed by Oklahoma business woman Terry Neese, in partnership with
the U.S. State Department, U.S. Afghan Women’s Council, and
Northwood University. The women are visiting Oklahoma for the
mentoring and cultural exchange component of the program.
“We just feel honored that they organize all this…for us and they
welcome us here,” said Ferishtah Bakhteri, who plans to open a
shopping center for women in Afghanistan. “Sometimes we don’t have
the chance to meet our own governor, but we meet with the Senators
(in Oklahoma). We learn so much…it’s really an honor for us.”
Surgeon Hasina Rasuli plans to create a mobile health clinic in
rural Afghanistan. She said she had been able to visit Norman
Regional Hospital and a breast cancer clinic. She was also excited
by the way the Peace Through Business program reached out to other
“I’m so excited (to see) that women in all the world, how they have
feelings for each other….that makes me more proud that the unity of
women makes help for (not only Afghanistan women) all the women in
the world. We can show that we are all women and we can… do
everything,” Rasuli said.
Neese said while in Oklahoma, the Afghan women had been guests in
the homes of Oklahoma business women who acted as personal mentors.
“These women have taken the entire week off from their
businesses, essentially, to house them in their homes, to have them
at their businesses … to talk to them about how they market their
company…how they do their books and accounting, a little bit of
everything,” said Neese, who explained the mentors also shared how
they balanced work and family.
Bakhteri said things had changed dramatically for women in
Afghanistan in the past few years, opening new opportunities in
education and business.
“We had some tough years in the past…within four years
Afghanistan has developed…there are a lot of differences and visible
changes which we are happy about it, and our government is also very
supportive and encouraging women,” Bakhteri said, adding the same
was true for education. “Everything is just changing positively. I
would say that Afghanistan is back.”
For more information, contact:
Senator Wilcoxson's Office: (405) 521-5618