Afghan women call for rights on International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day serves as a poignant moment for Afghan women to raise their voices and appeal to the Taliban for the complete assurance of their rights. In the face of significant obstacles, women and girls in Afghanistan find themselves unable to work or pursue education, sparking a collective call for change.

Wajiha, a 22-year-old Afghan woman, envisions attending a university exclusively for women and desires the freedom to work independently. On this International Women’s Day, she joins others in urging the Islamic Emirate to dismantle restrictions on women. She wants women to be granted the fundamental rights to study, learn, and work.

Various events commemorating this global celebration witnessed women in the capital express their hopes for increased engagement and participation in society. Shabnam, a journalist, highlighted the crucial role of women in the media. She emphasized that each woman working in a media outlet becomes the voice of those whose narratives remain unheard.

Fazila, a women’s rights activist, also acknowledged the exceptional nature of women inside Afghanistan, offering congratulations on International Women’s Day. She celebrated the distinctiveness of Afghan women, emphasizing that their journey differs from that of women in other countries.

The Taliban made many initial promises of a more moderate approach to women’s rights after seizing power in August 2021. However, the ban on higher education stands out as one of the steps taken to limit women’s roles in society. The aftermath of August 2021 saw the Taliban impose restrictions on girls. They barred them from attending school beyond the sixth grade. Stringent rules were implemented, compelling women to wear hijabs and restricting their travel to accompanying a male chaperone.

The Taliban’s policies went further, closing beauty salons and obstructing women from collaborating with domestic and international non-governmental aid groups. These actions triggered widespread international condemnation, reflecting concerns about the regression of women’s rights in Afghanistan.

International Women’s Day, therefore, becomes a platform for Afghan women to amplify their voices. They can also advocate for their rights in the face of ongoing challenges. The international community watches closely as Afghan women articulate their aspirations for a more inclusive and equitable society.

While the initial assurances from the Taliban aimed for a more tempered approach, the reality on the ground reflects ongoing struggles for women’s rights. The ban on higher education poses a severe setback. It is limiting the potential and aspirations of Afghan women, who seek knowledge and professional growth.

As Afghanistan navigates this critical juncture, the international community plays a pivotal role in holding the Taliban accountable for their promises regarding women’s rights. The voices of Afghan women on International Women’s Day also resonate globally. It underscores the urgency of addressing the existing barriers and fostering an environment where women can thrive.

All in all, in the spirit of this global celebration, the call for empowering Afghan women gains momentum. It is transcending borders and advocating for a future where women in Afghanistan can enjoy full rights. Consequently, the resilience and determination demonstrated by Afghan women on International Women’s Day serve as a testament to their unwavering commitment to shaping a more inclusive and equitable society.