March 26 2013

Entrepreneurial Women Bravely Rebuild Afghanistan, Despite the Nation's Real War on Women

Emily Wismer

 

Afghani women continue to fight a real war on women that attacks those who champion women’s equality and freedomputs Afghani daughters at risk, and defrauds women of their futures.

Yet some entrepreneurial women are bravely rebuilding Afghanistan their way, despite danger and Taliban opposition.  This week, Senator Kerry met with women building businesses who described the dangers they face. Here are a few stories highlighting the efforts of women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan:

Hassina Syed, founder of a trucking and catering conglomerate, told [Secretary of State John] Kerry there are opportunities for women, but she is worried about security and the future. “It’s a little bit insecurity,” she said in English. “I’m being polite to say a little bit.” A resurgent Taliban has burned girls’ schools and threatened women in several areas of this deeply conservative country. [Learn More]

Pashtun Begum used to beg door-to-door in Kabul, offering to wash clothes...she plans to start her own business soon, making and selling her handicrafts from her home. The ambitions of Begum, once considered rare for women in Afghanistan, highlight a silent but powerful revolution here. A growing number of female entrepreneurs - some 10,000 have been trained - are emerging from the isolation of war and oppression of the Taliban to contribute toward a more prosperous nation and greater independence for women, observers say. [Learn More]

One of Afghanistan’s most famous entrepreneurs is building international partnerships and helping other women grow their businesses. Hours after teenager Kamila Sadiqi earned her teaching certificate in 1996, the Taliban rolled into Kabul. Her dreams to become a teacher were dashed…Desperate to help her family survive, Kamila asked her oldest sister to teach her dressmaking and help her find some customers...Kamila was soon overwhelmed with orders. She taught her sisters to sew, and then trained women in the neighborhood. Soon she had one of Kabul’s most successful businesses. [Learn More]

 

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