Senior Taliban Official Claims '95%' of Afghans Do Not Want Women to Work

Senior Taliban Official Claims ‘95%’ of Afghans Do Not Want Women to Work

In an interview with local Afghan media, Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Public Work (MoPW), Din Mohammad Haqbin, made a claim that has sparked a heated debate. He stated that 95 percent of the Afghan population opposes women working in society. However, women’s rights activists Paikan and various data sources provide a different perspective.

According to Haqbin, the Islamic Emirate has issued a decree to create work opportunities specifically for widows. He argued that the majority of Afghans are against women joining the workforce, with only a small minority influenced by foreign training making statements in favor of women’s work. Haqbin questioned why other countries are interfering in this matter, emphasizing that each nation should respect its own traditions, religion, and laws.

In contrast to Haqbin’s claim, a women’s rights activist, highlights the benefits of women’s access to work for Afghan society. She believes that women should have the right to work, as it allows them to serve the people and the community. Paikan emphasizes that women have the right to own property, as decreed in the Quran. By having their own income, women can become property owners and contribute to the economy.

To gain a broader perspective, let’s refer to data from the UN Women Data Hub. As of February 2021, 27 percent of parliamentary seats in Afghanistan were held by women. This indicates some progress in terms of women’s representation in politics. However, there is still work to be done to achieve gender equality in the country. The data also reveals significant challenges faced by Afghan women, such as early marriage, high rates of physical and sexual violence, and limited access to sexual and reproductive health services.

Since the Taliban came to power, there have been variations in how women’s work is perceived. Some workplaces, particularly private ones, have allowed women to continue working. However, restrictions on women’s employment remain in place in many sectors. Taliban policies have prohibited women and girls from pursuing higher education, limited their mobility, and enforced strict dress codes and workplace segregation.

A Human Rights Watch report highlights the devastating impact of Taliban rule on Afghan women and girls. Many women have lost their jobs due to Taliban policies that restrict their access to work. The Taliban have also banned women and girls from secondary and higher education and altered curricula to prioritize religious studies. These policies have created immense barriers to women’s health, education, freedom of movement, and economic empowerment.

In light of these sources, it is clear that there are differing opinions regarding women’s access to work in Afghanistan. While Deputy Minister Haqbin claims that the majority of Afghans oppose women working, women’s rights activists and data indicate the importance of women’s economic participation for both individual empowerment and the advancement of society.