The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Women’s Division of this organization, and the International Organization for Migration released their quarterly report on the status of women in Afghanistan on September 19th. According to this report, these three organizations conducted interviews and consultations with 592 women in 22 provinces of Afghanistan in the early months of 2023.
According to the report, 69% of interviewed women reported suffering from depression, isolation, and feelings of humiliation. However, women’s rights advocates argue that the data collected by these three organizations represents a small fraction of Afghan women. However, still, they contend that women have faced such fates due to their gender.
Monisa Mobarez, a university professor and women’s rights advocate, attributes the isolation and depression of women to the policies enforced by the interim government and traditional Afghan society, where women’s fundamental rights have always been denied.
Ms. Mobarez adds, “Women have faced such fates due to gender. When their right to education, employment, financial independence, and social presence are stripped away, they will suffer from depression and isolation.”
Meanwhile, the Taliban administration issued over 50 restrictive decrees during its two years in Afghanistan. According to UNAMA’s survey, 62% of women stated that these decrees have been rigorously enforced.
The research conducted by these three organizations involved 592 women through both online and in-person methods to measure the priorities of women in the current circumstances. However, women’s rights defenders argue that 592 is a small sample of Afghan women and cannot fully reflect the situation of women across Afghanistan.
Ms Mobarez, speaking with Khaama Press News Agency, said that no research institution in Afghanistan can genuinely reflect the actual situation of women. In her view, freedom of expression does not exist in Afghanistan now, and women cannot voice their opinions.
She further states, “Organizations like UNAMA and the European Union are advocating for engagement with the Taliban; undoubtedly, this research cannot be impartial.”
Maryam Marouf Arvin, another women’s rights advocate, acknowledges that although the data collection was weak if these interviews had been conducted in an environment free from fear and intimidation, they could have reflected the situation of Afghan women.
Ms. Arvin adds, “The living conditions of women are clear to everyone and are indicative of a humiliating life under the rule of the interim government.”
The results of this research continue to show that women’s decision-making power within families has significantly decreased, and 80% of women have lost their income.
In this regard, Ms Mobarez explains that financial dependence and the prevailing customs in Afghan society limit women’s decision-making abilities within families. According to Ms Mobarez, the ban on women’s employment and isolation has reduced their decision-making capacity.
Women in this survey considered access to education, gender equality, and human rights as priorities. Almost all interviewed women from UNAMA have called for the international community not to recognize the Taliban administration or, if recognized, to make it conditional on the rule of law, justice, and meaningful participation of women in the government’s frameworks.
It should be noted that following the resurgence of the Taliban, women have consistently called on the global community in various ways not to recognize this government.
With the interim government in power, girls were deprived of schools and universities, and women lost their jobs in government and non-governmental offices.
Women’s presence in public places such as parks, sports clubs, and entertainment venues was also prohibited.
However, the restrictive decrees of the interim government have faced condemnation from the international community. However, the authorities of the Taliban government have disregarded the global community’s reactions and believe that women’s rights are preserved within the framework of Islamic laws.