Written by Maryam Habib and Dr. Muhammad Asim
Afghanistan has been a country where women have been facing gender discrimination for years. The ban on women for higher education has become a significant trait of the Afghan government, forcing women to flee to neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Iran. However, there is hope for change through the establishment of a jointly administrative market at the tri-borderland between Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. This essay aims to discuss how this market can lead to women empowerment in Afghanistan and how it can affect the theocratic totalitarian nature of the current Afghan government.
Firstly, the proposed jointly administrative market will allow women to have more economic opportunities, which is a crucial factor in women empowerment. Women entrepreneurs and businesswomen will be able to trade freely and expand their businesses within the region, increasing their financial independence and ability to make their own choices. This economic empowerment can lead to an improvement in the status of women in society and may encourage the government to recognize their potential contributions.
Secondly, the market can lead to a shift in the psychological approach towards women in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The shared cultural, linguistic, religious, and social traits can enable a more open and accepting attitude towards women’s participation in society. As the market opens up economic opportunities, it may also change the perception of women’s roles in society and allow for greater participation in different fields, including education and politics.
Furthermore, Afghan scholars have advised the government to allow women to have access to higher education similar to Iran, where women are allowed to pursue their education while wearing hijab. The market can act as a catalyst for this change, as education is a crucial factor in women empowerment. Women who are educated can make informed decisions and participate actively in various sectors of society.
However, the establishment of a jointly administrative market at the tri-borderland between the three states may also pose challenges. The current Afghan government’s theocratic totalitarian nature may resist the changes brought about by the market, leading to opposition towards women empowerment. Furthermore, the economic liberalization may increase economic inequalities and further marginalize women who are not able to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the market.
In conclusion, the jointly administrative market at the tri-borderland between Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan holds great potential for women empowerment in Afghanistan. It can provide women with economic opportunities, change the psychological approach towards women, and facilitate access to education. However, the government’s theocratic totalitarian nature may resist the changes brought about by the market, posing a challenge to women empowerment. Despite the challenges, the market can still contribute significantly to improving the status of women in Afghanistan, bringing about positive changes for the entire society.