Afghan Women's Rights

Afghan Women Entrepreneurs Shatter Stereotypes

“In Afghanistan, women are rarely seen in business, and many face obstacles and social pressures. During the brutal regime of the Taliban, women were banned from working or studying. Even venturing outside of the house required they wear the head-to-toe burqa. Today, fifteen years after the Taliban was ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces, change is finally taking hold. Women like Akbari are becoming breadwinners. At the agricultural exhibition, many women worked shoulder to shoulder with the men.

According to the government-run Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA), there are currently 1,413 women registered as business owners in Afghanistan. This compares to some 12,000 Afghan men, said Ghulam Nabi Khalili, AISA’s director of investment support.

These numbers do not take into account the hundreds of female breadwinners who are not registered – war and a weak economy mean many small and informal businesses work under the radar. There are many reasons why Afghan women choose to go into business in such a male-dominated culture: some have been widowed, while others have husbands who are handicapped, addicted to opium or simply cannot find work.

Female breadwinners are important role models. They can also benefit the entire family, decreasing the societal pressure heaped on men to provide.” Read more >>