On International Women’s Day, Tolo News aired a special broadcast featuring an all-female panel and audience. This is a rare feat since the Taliban takeover, which resulted in the loss of jobs for many female journalists who either left the profession or worked off-air.
Asma Khogyani, a journalist on the panel, discussed the position of women in Islam, asserting that they have the right to work and be educated. The survey by Reporters Without Borders in 2021 showed that over 75% of female journalists had lost their jobs due to the Taliban’s rule.
The panel on Wednesday evening wore masks to protect themselves, a reminder of the challenges female journalists are still facing in Afghanistan.
The Taliban last year restricted most girls from high school, women from university and stopped most Afghan female NGO workers.
Another panellist, former university professor Zakira Nabil said women would continue to find ways to learn and work. “Whether you want it or not, women exist in this society … if it’s not possible to get an education at school, she will learn knowledge at home,” she told the panel.
Due to growing restrictions as well as the country’s severe economic crisis, the International Labour Organisation said female employment had fallen 25 per cent last year since mid-2021. It added that more women were turning to self-employed work such as tailoring at home.
On Wednesday, the United Nations Mission to Afghanistan urged the Taliban to lift their restrictions on the rights of girls and women, describing them as “distressing.” The Taliban have claimed that they are honoring women’s rights in line with their interpretation of Islamic law and Afghan culture. Moreover, an official committee had been established to examine the perceived issues in order to reopen girls’ schools.