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Afghan Women Rights, Crushed in 2 Year Taliban Rule

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Afghan Women Rights, Crushed in 2 Year Taliban Rule: A Timeline of Key Events

The landscape of Afghan Women Rights has undergone a seismic shift in recent years, marked by a series of pivotal moments that have reshaped the lives of Afghan women. What began with promises of inclusion and empowerment quickly devolved into a reality of stringent restrictions and suppression under the Taliban’s rule. This article charts the progression of these critical junctures, illustrating the systematic crushing of Afghan women’s rights.

Afghan Women Rights, Crushed in 2 Year Taliban Rule

September 2021 – Bar on Girls’ Secondary Schools

Barely a month after seizing control, the Taliban’s stance on women’s education emerged as a harbinger of their intentions. While boys were allowed to return to secondary schools, girls were conspicuously absent from the ministry’s statement. The chilling impact of this decision was felt by a 17-year-old aspiring doctor in Kabul, who had striven against all odds to pursue her dreams. Her aspirations crumbled as she tearfully bid farewell to her school-going brothers.

In tandem, the mayor of Kabul directed female city employees to remain at home, permitting work only for roles deemed unfit for men. Amidst this gloom, a flicker of optimism endured as universities remained operational. A student’s hopeful assertion that this signaled future policy shifts seemed to belie the impending storm.

Afghan Women Rights, Crushed in 2 Year Taliban Rule

December 2021 to March 2022 – Travel Restrictions and Broken Promises

As the calendar turned, the Taliban unveiled a series of incremental measures that unraveled the lives of Afghan women. Protests erupted as women demanded the right to study and work, only to be met with violent suppression by the Taliban. Detentions and beatings of female activists underscored the severity of the situation.

Afghan Women Rights, Crushed in 2 Year Taliban Rule

A momentary glimmer of hope arrived in March 2023 when the Taliban’s education department announced a return to schools for all students. Yet, this fleeting optimism was shattered when an abrupt WhatsApp message reversed the decision for girls’ secondary schools. Tears flowed as young women confronted the harsh reality of their shrinking opportunities. The Taliban’s justifications rested on a return to traditional values, further aligning themselves with conservative elements within their support base.

May 2022 – Imposition of New Dress Codes

May 2022 heralded the imposition of stringent dress codes, dictating that women must be veiled in head-to-toe clothing. The government, under the leadership of Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, decreed that women must cover all but their eyes. This drastic shift was a turning point, effectively erasing vibrant tunics and hijabs in favor of black abayas and burkas.

As women vanished from public spaces, destitution burgeoned among those denied the right to work. Early marriages surged as a result of curtailed education and job opportunities, exacerbating the plight of Afghan women.

October to Decembr 2022 – Bans on University, Public Spaces, and NGO Work

A brief hiatus in new restrictions was followed by a contentious decision to allow girls to sit for university exams, kindling cautious optimism. Yet, divisions within the Taliban over women’s education emerged, as some leaders advocated for women’s inclusion while others championed stricter controls.

The pendulum swung decisively towards conservatism by year-end, with women barred from public spaces, including parks, gyms, swimming pools, and public baths. Universities were shuttered, and female NGO workers were ordered to cease their activities. This wave of restrictions underscored the Taliban’s iron grip on Afghan women’s lives.

Afghan Women Rights, Crushed in 2 Year Taliban Rule

July 2023 – Beauty Salons Banned

The final bastions of relative freedom, hair and beauty salons, were shuttered in July 2023. This move affected an estimated 60,000 employed women, decimating their livelihoods. Some resilient women resorted to operating covert salons from their homes, exemplifying the determination to defy oppressive norms.

Conclusion

The timeline of these key moments starkly illustrates the crushing of Afghan women’s rights under the Taliban’s rule. From the initial assurances of inclusion to the sweeping restrictions on education, work, and personal expression, Afghan women have endured a disheartening regression. Despite the suffocating atmosphere, glimmers of hope persist as women strive to live their lives amidst adversity. The tale of Afghan women’s resilience remains one of defiance against oppressive forces, a testament to the enduring spirit that refuses to be extinguished.

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FAQs About Afghan Women Rights

Q1: What were the initial promises made by the Taliban regarding women’s rights in Afghanistan? A1: The Taliban announced during their first press conference after seizing power on August 15, 2021, that they would allow women to study and work within their framework, asserting that women would play an active role in society.

Q2: How did the Taliban’s approach to women’s education change in September 2021? A2: In September 2021, the Taliban allowed boys to return to secondary schools but made no mention of girls in their statement. This marked the first indication of the Taliban’s attitude toward women’s education, as girls were barred from attending classes, dashing their dreams of education and careers.

Q3: What glimmer of hope emerged in December 2021 regarding girls’ education? A3: In December 2021, the Taliban’s education department announced that “all students” would be able to return to school at the start of the new academic term, raising hopes for girls’ education. However, this optimism was short-lived as a subsequent WhatsApp message reversed the decision for girls’ secondary schools.

Q4: How did the Taliban’s dress code policies change the appearance of Afghan women? A4: In May 2022, the Taliban imposed new dress codes mandating that women cover themselves in head-to-toe clothing, except for their eyes. This led to a significant shift in women’s attire, as they transitioned from vibrant tunics to wearing black abayas and even burkas in some cases.

Q5: What sectors of public life were Afghan women gradually barred from? A5: Starting from October to December 2022, Afghan women were systematically banned from various public spaces, including parks, gyms, swimming pools, and public baths. Additionally, they were prohibited from attending universities, and female NGO workers were ordered to stop working.

Q6: What impact did the ban on beauty salons have on Afghan women? A6: In July 2023, the Taliban government announced the closure of beauty salons, leaving approximately 60,000 women unemployed. Many women who depended on these salons for income were left struggling to support their families. Some resorted to running covert salons from their homes.

Q7: How have Afghan women continued to resist despite the restrictions? A7: Despite the oppressive environment, Afghan women have exhibited resilience. Some have established underground secret schools to continue education, while certain NGOs still employ women who operate under the radar. Afghan women have also marched in defiance, refusing to be silenced, and emphasizing their determination for change.

Q8: What is the broader message conveyed by Afghan women through their resilience? A8: Afghan women’s resilience underscores their refusal to be subdued by oppressive forces. Their unwavering determination to pursue education, work, and personal expression in the face of adversity exemplifies their enduring spirit. These women are a symbol of the ongoing struggle for empowerment and equality in Afghanistan.

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