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The women really want to work in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan

#women #work #Talibanruled #Afghanistan

Since taking power a year ago, the Taliban have ousted Afghan women from public life by imposing stifling restrictions on where they work, how they travel and what they wear.

There is hardly a woman in the country who has not lost a male relative in successive wars, while many of her husbands, fathers, sons and brothers have also lost their jobs or their incomes shattered by a deepening economic crisis.

AFP has made a series of portraits of women in big cities – Kabul, Herat and Kandahar – trying to hold households together by any means necessary.

“During these hard times, my job has made me happy,” baker Shapari, 40, told AFP.

“My husband is unemployed and stays at home. I can find food for my kids.”

Women have been barred from most government jobs – or have their salaries cut and told to stay at home.

They are also often the first to be fired from ailing private companies – particularly those unable to segregate jobs under Taliban rules.

Some vacancies remain open, although women face much greater barriers than male counterparts.

– ‘Queen of Honey Bees’ –

Tahmina Usmani, 23, is one of the few journalists who has been able to continue working in the industry.

To circumvent a Taliban order to cover their faces during broadcast, she and others at Afghan news channel TOLOnews wear a Covid face mask.

“I’ve been able to join TOLOnews and be the voice for women in Afghanistan, which makes me feel great,” she said.

Ghuncha Gul Karimi, another woman photographed by AFP, expanded her beekeeping business to produce honey for sale after her husband left the country.

“I took two extra jobs and bought a motorcycle to drive me to and from the honey farm,” she said.

“I am determined to become the queen of honey bees.”

Even before the Taliban returned to power, Afghanistan was a deeply conservative, patriarchal country where advances in women’s rights were largely confined to the big cities.

Women generally cover their hair with scarves, while the burqa — which was mandatory for all women under the Taliban’s first regime from 1996 to 2001 — remained widespread, especially outside the capital Kabul.

Earlier this year, religious police ordered women to cover themselves completely, including their faces, in public.

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#women #work #Talibanruled #Afghanistan

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