'Taliban' banning women from work and education threatens Afghan women with hunger and ignorance


'Taliban' banning women from work and education threatens Afghan women with hunger and ignorance

'Taliban' banning women from work and education threatens Afghan women with hunger and 


The change that will take place in Afghanistan after the Taliban movement has become a main focus for research and imagining its repercussions for the Afghan society, and there is no doubt that Afghan women will suffer greatly under the rule of the Taliban. She had already lived a harsh and difficult life before during the Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001.

One of the first measures taken by the Taliban after they came to power - about a month ago - was to force most working Afghan women to leave their jobs and stay at home.

Writer Ruth Pollard and writer David Fickling said in a report published by Bloomberg News Agency, that this measure will increase the risk of starvation facing the country after years of not harvesting sufficient crops and the collapse of this year's wheat crop.

They added that in an aid-dependent economy facing severe turmoil, the sudden exclusion of tens of thousands of women workers, who earn wages and support large extended families, increases the numbers facing hunger in a country where 47.3 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

What happens outside the cities can be even more devastating, Fickling and Pollard said. Women make up about a third of the rural workforce, and without them the problems of a country that can barely feed its people would multiply.

Heather Barr, associate director of women's rights at Human Rights Watch, said Afghan women's first fear is being denied a job, and the second fear is being denied access to education.

With so many men killed in the conflict or fleeing Afghanistan, many Afghan women are now responsible for taking care of their families and are the only ones working to provide for their sons and other relatives.

Even before this year's crisis, poverty was rampant in Afghanistan due to a devastating drought in 2018 and 2019.

Fickling and Pollard stated that the Taliban's takeover of power would make these problems more acute, because there is a strong correlation between poverty, malnutrition, and gender inequality.

Although women and girls tend to be more tolerant of malnutrition, in patriarchal societies that prioritize men they also suffer the worst deprivation and long-term side effects, as more food is allocated to the males in the family.

Living on the margins of hunger can be both a cause and a consequence of women's low status. Economic empowerment usually begins with controlling at least part of the family's finances.

Even in patriarchal societies, there is evidence that ending men's control of money can lead to an effective and powerful cycle of increasing equality, incomes and social welfare.

These effects can be significant: child malnutrition decreases by 43% when women control any increase in incomes, and the improvement is even greater when they have a better chance of getting an education.

For this progress to happen, there must be surplus income, but with the Taliban ending women's ability to earn money and food prices rising, the chances of that are rapidly diminishing.

According to a 2014 study, about 53 percent of household spending in rural areas goes to food only, and this situation may not have improved in the last seven years.

Due to the long-term effects of the drought and the Corona pandemic, wheat flour prices in Kabul increased by about 20% from their historical average during most of last year.

This situation is likely to worsen as a result of the current turmoil, and if one thinks that the supply chain problems in Western countries would lead to shortages and inflation, this is nothing compared to the kind of civil chaos and uncertainty in Afghanistan, Viking and Pollard added.

Added to this is a banking sector in crisis, with long lines of people waiting for the little cash left in the country.

The United States and international bodies, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, froze foreign reserves and halted regular remittances.

A United Nations conference held in Geneva on Monday pledged more than $1 billion in emergency aid to Afghanistan.

But the question for donors is how to deliver aid quickly before another harsh winter sets in without inadvertently funding the Taliban's brutal campaign against women, the media, religious minorities, and other key civil society segments.

Behind the scenes, there is a bad rift between aid organizations, including the United Nations, said Barr, associate director at Human Rights Watch.

Some agencies say that if the Taliban do not allow women to do aid work, they will have to go ahead and distribute the aid regardless, since the aid is badly needed.

Other agencies say having female aid workers is the only way to ensure aid reaches the women, an assertion that has been proven time and time again. Whatever happens, there is a need for it to happen quickly.

The United Nations Development Program warned earlier this month that 97% of the population may slip below the poverty line by the middle of next year if there is no urgent action to address the closely related economic and political crises.

Fickling and Pollard concluded their report by saying that starvation may prove as devastating to the women of Afghanistan as the Taliban themselves.

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