Women manage several businesses in Afghanistan. Males dominate public life and business, and since the Taliban’s takeover, even more, women have withdrawn from view. While some claim they are trapped in archaic cultural institutions that rarely allow them to assert their authority, others dread severe new constraints, such as travel and education limitations.
But a distinct reality prevails behind the walls of many female-run clinics in Kabul: here, women rescue lives on a daily basis, provide marital counseling, and care for and raise abandoned children. Many of the physicians and nurses who work here have children and are sometimes the primary financial backers of their families. And they all agree that when women run things, things operate more smoothly.
“Before the Taliban took control, we had a few guys working here, but because this is predominantly a maternity facility, they threw them out.” “Today, it’s women working for women,” gynecologist Jagona Faizli tells the Guardian. She is the mother of “three gorgeous girls,” and her husband works from home, covering her usual night hours.
“He’s the strongest man I’ve encountered,” she continues, “because he challenges society’s standards here.” “We married for love, and I’d marry him again in a heartbeat.”
Faizli, 31, says her job at the hospital has allowed her to chat freely and get to know her residents and the staff.
“There are no men to be seen, therefore I feel free at this hospital.” Many of the ladies who come here speak of me about their marital problems. I attempt to advise and counsel them, and I try to assist where I can.”
That is not the only thing that women do. According to Mariam Maqsoodi, a resident doctor, following an increase in abandoned infants at the hospital – most likely due to Afghanistan’s economic difficulties – they have organized a “adoption committee” to guarantee the kids are cared for.
“We register couples that can’t have children and want to adopt, and if we can’t find a home for the newborns, one of our employees generally adopts,” she adds, adding, “It’s heartbreaking.” We just had a newborn boy whose mom died while going to give birth and whose father fled without bringing him home. We make certain that each youngster is well-cared for.”
Up to 100 infants are delivered every day at the hospital where Maqsoodi works – the physicians asked that the name of the clinic be withheld for security purposes – and at least 140 female personnel handle all surgeries.
“I have four children myself, and I miss them throughout the day, but I remind them I have an important function to accomplish.” When the Taliban took over, Twelve of our hospital’s doctors fled the country.
“We were all scared, and most of us wanted to go,” Maqsoodi continues, “but we’re still here protecting lives.”
It’s been challenging. The ladies claim they are under Taliban pressure. Many of the medics decided to stay home for weeks after the Islamists took power in August, afraid to attend to work. Most of them gradually returned to their employment. “We’ll keep going,” Faizli adds. “Even the Taliban recognizes the need for our presence.”
Women-run businesses are becoming increasingly rare in a country ruled by an all-male administration that has barred women from entering public office since August and continues to deny older females an education.
As the Taliban works to establish a functioning administration, criticism of Afghanistan’s new leaders is prevalent. Human Rights Groups have accused them of enforcing regulations that breached human rights and caused significant impediments for women.
For months after the Taliban’s takeover – and the consequent suspension of the Afghan national bank’s reserves overseas – physicians and other healthcare workers across the nation have not gotten their paychecks, despite working full-time.
Recently, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) took over wage payments for thousands of Afghan health workers, both men, and women.
“Women are important to guaranteeing the health system’s continued operation.” The health-care system just would not function without them.”
Nonetheless, many women in nursing think their prospects are uncertain. “Most females in Kabul are still not in high school, so what prospects will my kids have here?” “Afghanistan is no longer a place where I envisage a future for my children,” adds Faizli.