Afghanistan: Women are starting to lose their jobs

Employment levels of women in Afghanistan are estimated to have decreased by 16% in the third quarter of 2021

321cb59d469c844844a158dcb270a03f 35 AFGHANISTAN, Women, KABUL, TALIBAN

In a small tailor shop in Kabul, 29-year-old Afghan businesswoman Sohaila Nouri watches her dramatically reduced staff sewing handkerchiefs, dresses and children's clothes.

A few months ago, before the hardline Taliban Islamist took power in August, Nouri employed more than 80 people, mostly women, in three different laboratories.

"We have had so much work in the past," said Nouri, who is determined to keep her business in order to employ as many women as possible.

"We had different types of contracts, we could easily pay a salary to our main tailors and other employees, but at the moment we do not have any contracts."

With Afghanistan's economy in deep crisis, businesses like Noori are struggling to stay open.

In a matter of difficulty, the Taliban will allow women to work solely on their own interpretation of Islamic law, forcing some to leave their jobs for fear of being punished by an organization that severely restricted their freedoms. during their last rule.

The hard-earned women's rights over the past two decades have been quickly lost, and reports by human rights experts and labor organizations this week paint a pessimistic picture of women's employment and access to public life. .

Although the economic crisis is affecting the whole country - some organizations predict that it will lead almost the entire population to poverty in the coming months - the consequences are disproportionately borne by women.

"The crisis in Afghanistan has made the already difficult situation for working women even worse," said Ramin Behzad, co-ordinator of the International Labor Organization (ILO) for Afghanistan. "Jobs in key sectors have dried up, and restrictions recently imposed on women's participation in some sectors of the economy are affecting households."

Employment rates for women in Afghanistan are estimated to have fallen by 16% in the third quarter of 2021, according to an ILO report released yesterday, compared to 6% for men.

Women's employment was expected to be 21% lower than it was before the Taliban occupation by mid-2022 if current conditions were maintained, according to the ILO.

For Nouri's tailors, the opportunity to make some money offsets other concerns.

"Mostly our families are worried about our safety. "They keep calling us when we are not home on time, but we keep working… because we have financial problems," said Lailuma, who gave only her first name out of fear for her safety.

Another worker, Saleha, is now the only one earning money in her family.

"My monthly income is about 1.000 afghanis ($ 10) and I'm the only person working in my family; unfortunately, since the Taliban came to power, there has been virtually no income."

Source: RES-EAP