Earlier this month, the Taliban announced the composition of their interim cabinet. There are no women in the government, and the ministry for women’s affairs has been dissolved. Women throughout Afghanistan have expressed their distress about this, and people all around the world are rightfully horrified. Demonstrators said they would not accept a government with no women ministers. As a result, protesters went out on the streets in support of women’s rights. This was not well received by the Taliban.
Reporters for a local news network said some of their journalists had been detained and beaten in the process of covering the rally. Despite the Taliban’s lack of response to the allegations, they warned that protests were illegal. Demonstrators have been told that permission is needed to march and that there are strong restrictions on what is allowed to be said during the protests.
“We cannot accept this, and that’s why we came out,” one Afghan woman told the BBC. In her remarks, she said that she had taken part in two demonstrations so far this week. “We were marching peacefully, then I saw 4-5 vehicles with about 10 Taliban fighters in each of them, following us,” another protester reported.
Several women reported being stopped and beaten with electric batons and whipped. Taliban leaders have previously stated that the reason for their actions against women was to create an atmosphere where chastity and dignity would once again be sacrosanct for women. The Taliban repression of women in Afghanistan is a huge step backward for women’s rights internationally. The Taliban continues to communicate to the world that women are inferior and that they should be disrespected. There can be no room for this in our future world and for children, especially those under the Taliban’s ruling to be taught that this is acceptable. To stop the Taliban from communicating this to their children, the rest of the world needs to come together.
The fact that we are not in Afghanistan does limit us from being able to directly help Afghan women. However, by setting a precedent and communicating our anger throughout the world, we can help in another form. To show the Taliban that no other nation on earth is standing by and supporting their actions, we need to champion women’s rights around the world. Unless the Taliban receive international assistance throughout their rule, they will likely not be able to continue their regime for a long time, as they will eventually require a connection to the outside world.
By further communicating to the Taliban that the rest of the world will not be supportive, we can facilitate the success of important women’s rights to pass legislation. For instance, the petition to repeal the new abortion law in Texas, which obliterates a woman’s right to control her own body. A precedent-setting approach that negates this new law can assist the global community’s identity of supporting women’s rights. To avoid the international growth of what the Taliban is trying to implement, we must have zero tolerance for sexism and female abuse.
As per the Taliban regime, Afghan women are required to wear the burqa because it is believed by the Taliban that women’s faces are a source of corruption to men who are unrelated to them. Until the age of eight, women are not allowed to work or to study anything except the Qur’an. The Taliban have publicly flogged and executed women for violation of these laws under their control in the past. It is estimated that 80% of Afghan marriages were forced under the Taliban, which encouraged and allowed the marriage of girls under 16.
To stop the Taliban’s treatment of women, we should show our support for women’s rights around the world while also advocating to our governments that communication should be active with the Taliban on a peaceful basis, as well as fueling international pressure to push them out of power.