The World Bank in its recent report of “Women, Business and the Law 2023” placed Afghanistan among 11 economies with the lowest Women, Business and the Law scores.
According to the World Bank, violent conflicts and high levels of institutional and social fragility affect the quality of policy and institutions, including government capacity to undertake reforms.
“Out of 27 low-income economies examined, 11 economies with the lowest Women, Business and the Law scores are also fragile and conflict-affected situations, consisting of Afghanistan, Chad, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, and the Republic of Yemen,” the report said.
The report said that the interim “Taliban administration” in Afghanistan issued guidelines and decrees also limiting women’s freedom of movement and ability to get a job.
“The recent regime change in the country has negatively affected both the economy and the welfare of the Afghan people, in particular, women and girls,” the report noted. “Access to secondary education for girls has been significantly constrained, and nearly half of women in salaried work have lost their employment (World Bank 2022a). More recently, the government suspended university education for all female students and barred women from working in nongovernmental organizations in the country.”
The report added that many of these restrictions are imposed by “verbal decree and remain unpublished by an official source.”
“Given the uncertainty over the applicable legal framework in Afghanistan, and because unwritten rules are not considered under the Women, Business and the Law methodology, the final count of changes widening the legal gender gap there are based only on what is identifiable in writing,” the report cited.
“Women are half of Afghanistan’s work force, and their being deprived of work causes obstacles for development and also poverty in the society,” said Azeraksh Hafizi, an economist.
Meanwhile, some Afghan women entrepreneurs said that the women are playing a crucial role in the improvement of business and the economy of Afghanistan.
“The economy of the people is weak. They see the products and choose but can’t afford it. The handmade products are expensive because they are made by hand,” said Lailuma, a female entrepreneur.
“We should be encouraged, and the projects should be given to us. This is not good that the projects be only provided to the men, it should be also given to the women as well. We should not look down on women and should support them financially,” said Sonia, a female entrepreneur.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) said that efforts are underway to support women and girls in the economic sector.
“More than 8,000 Afghan women are active in business across the country. The majority of them are working in seven sectors: handmade products, agriculture, health services, food, industry and mines. The presence of women in business can increase full security in the country,” said Akhundzada Abdul Salam Jawad, a spokesman for the MoIC.
Earlier, the MoIC said that more than 50,000 women unofficially and 5,000 officially are involved in business in Afghanistan