Participation - مشارکت!

FES Afghanistan celebrates International Women's Day with an Exhibition on inclusive Economy

مشارکت! Meaningful participation of Women is the best investment in Afghanistan’s economic future.

The challenges Afghan women face on this International Women’s Day are gigantic, there is no way of talking around it. The war rages on with cruelty, claiming the lives and threatening the livelihoods of women and their loved ones every day. Poverty and the lack of economic opportunities provide an environment where exploitation and despair are not far - as are discrimination, exclusion, and marginalization of those, whose talents, ideas and bright minds are needed more than ever. On #IWD2021, FES and Mariam Alimi show you those women who challenge and overcome stereotypes, inspire and lead the way for others, provide for their families and communities  - let's celebrate, honor and empower them!

Dr. Karima Hamid Faryabi, the first female Minister of Economy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is convinced that women can stand on their own feet with a little investment in them. She pledges to help female innovators and entrepreneurs to be more successful. Photo: FES/Mariam Alimi, Kabul, February 2021. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

Sara Bahai, Afghanistan’s first female taxi driver, says “when I started this job, I dressed like man and even styled my hair like a man. It was hard to get accepted as a female driver, so I had to use all my strength to keep up my career and support my family.” Mazar-e-Sharif July 2016 Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

Roya Sadat has been the first female director in the history of Afghan cinema in the post-Taliban era. Today, she is a role model for many female artists all around the world. Her art also helped to raise global awareness of women’s empowerment in Afghanistan. Kabul, March 2020. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

Dr. Homeira Qaderi is a writer, poet and former adviser to the Ministry of Education. In her opinion, in Afghanistan, education and economic opportunities are intertwined, especially for women. Many women struggle to be economically independent and secure at the same time.” Kabul January 2021. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

Masooma teaches Dari to girls in Kabul’s Khair Khana district. She says, “education is a basic need of every society, which makes teaching a fundamental job.” Unfortunately, she and her colleagues only receive a low and not much recognition for their word. Kabul January 2021. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

50-year-old Nafisa Sadat runs a family business from her home, producing jams, pickles, dried peppers, and many other things and sells them in shops or to individual customers. She also travels to other provinces to get new recipes and shop local produce. Kabul January 2021.  Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

These women wash Gilam carpets for their neighbors and lament that despite the low and insecure pay the bad economic situation of their family forces them to seek those jobs on top of labor intense work in their own house. Jalalabad, July 2018. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

Amina Sultani won the international midwifery award in 2017. “One of my biggest challenges has been to work with more experienced midwives whose skills have become outdated – they sometimes saw me as a daughter, not their teacher,” she says, trying to bring new methods to a traditional profession. Kabul November 2017. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

Mina Rezaei established the “Simple Café” in Kabul almost three and half years ago. With creativity and innovation, she proved that women can successfully run restaurants even in Afghanistan’s traditional society. Kabul February 2021. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

Saffron has become Afghanistan’s top export item in the past years. Women like this harvest worker picking saffron flowers are the – often underpaid – backbone of this economic success story. Herat October 2017 Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

Fatana Gilani founded the Women’s Association, which provides the ground for women’s economic growth and self-sufficiency by granting small loans and other activities, benefitting some 22,000 families. Kabul February 2021. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

The Women’s Association provides small loans and business trainings to women like these, cooking Bolani in a dedicated Bazar in Makroyan so they can start their own businesses. Kabul, February 2021. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

This woman bakes bread in her house for walk-in customers and neighbors: “I am the breadwinner of my family. My three sons and my husband at home. They go out every day, but they cannot find a job.” Kabul, November 2018. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

Fatima and her mother weave a traditional carpet in their home. While her father runs a shop nearby, Fatima’s mother said, they are adding to the family income like this, in addition to their house chores. Mazar-e-Sharif, May 2020. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

The women-owned clothing production company Jama Design sells Afghan clothes in- and outside Afghanistan and provides employment opportunities for women like these two workers. Jama Design owner Mohsenia Saqib explores also new ways of entrepreneurship, such as e-commerce. Kabul, February 2021. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

This widowed mother of three kids is also a tailor, waiting to receive clothes to be repaired and fitted from her neighbors. After three months of training, she had received the machine from an NGO earlier that year. Bamyan, June 2018. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

Gulsom is one of many former refugees that have returned from Pakistan in the past years. An international NGO supports the young tailor with a small grant sent per mobile money transfer so that she can buy a sewing machine Jalalabad, October 2019. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi

This shoe keeper receives 10 AFN for storing the shoes of visitors to the local mosque – which adds up to an earning of only 150 to 200 AFN per day. With this low income, she still manages to support her family. Kabul, June 2018. Photo © FES / Mariam Alimi


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