Taliban tell women officers to send male relatives as replacements
Almost a year after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, women officials have reportedly been asked to stay at home and send their male relatives as replacements. Sixty women in the Finance Ministry have been asked to recommend male replacements for their posts, a report says. This comes amid global concerns over recent decrees passed by the Taliban which push back the rights of women.
Why does this story matter?
The Taliban took control of Kabul on August 12, 2021, forcing senior officials to flee the nation, as the US Army retreated from Afghan land. The Taliban has imposed several restrictions on the freedom of women, young girls, and the media. In crisis-ridden Afghanistan, 20 million people now face acute hunger and 9 million have been displaced, the United Nations (UN) says.
Government officials asked to send in male replacements
A woman employed at the Finance Ministry received a call from the Taliban, telling her that they "need to hire a man since work has increased in the office," The Guardian reported. "60 other women like me were asked to send in a male replacement so that I can be dismissed from the job," she said.
Female government officials targeted by Taliban
The woman, who holds a degree in business management and has worked with the ministry for 15 years, said that her demotion was non-negotiable. "Taliban has demoted me ever since they came to power. My salary has been reduced from 60,000 Afghanis to AFN 12,000," she said. Shortly after the Taliban takeover, female government employees were sent home from their jobs.
Decrees passed by Taliban push back women's rights
A Taliban decree in May ordered Afghan women to cover their faces in public, and women news anchors were also asked to cover their faces on television The Taliban has also banned women from taking long-distance road trips without a male relative. Since September, the Taliban have banned young girls from pursuing secondary education, sometimes sending them back home at gunpoint.
Economic impact of restrictions on women's employment
Restrictions placed on women's employment have resulted in a loss of up to $1 billion, or about 5% of Afghanistan's GDP, UN Women said in May, adding that 'universal poverty' has threatened malnutrition and food insecurity in the nation. Commenting on the escalating crisis for women, a Human Rights Watch official said, "Taliban has turned women into virtual prisoners."