Pakistan News

Afghan women turn to business after Taliban ban

Afghan women turn to business after Taliban ban

KABUL: A number of Afghan businesswomen took part in an exhibition in Dubai remotely this week to promote carpets, jewellery, dried fruit and other handmade goods as part of a push to access international markets after work options for women shrunk in Afghanistan under the Taliban administration.

The three-day exhibition, held at a hotel in Dubai and supported by the United Nations Development Programme, began on Thursday and includes 26 female-run businesses.

Due to visa and travel restrictions, most business owners joined via video link from the Afghan capital, where they said some restrictions on women in public life as well as the country’s struggling economy were hampering their businesses.

Rayhana Karim, from Afghanistan’s Women’s Chamber of Commerce, attended the event in Dubai. She said they were working to create a brand for products, labelling them “Made by Afghan Women”, to reach consumers abroad wanting to support women’s rights.

“The end-consumers in Europe, the United States and the UAE, they want to support Afghan women, we need to provide them with an opportunity,” Karim said.

“You are supporting an Afghan woman when buying a quality product ... and you are enabling her to stand on her own two feet, to gain financial independence and to start to have a seat at the table.”

The International Labour Organisation recently estimated that 25 per cent of women’s jobs had disappeared since the Taliban took over as foreign forces withdrew in 2021. Many women, they noted, had turned to home-based businesses, which had stopped the female employment figures falling further.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2023

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