Women’s Day: What Happened to Women in Iran and Afghanistan?

The situation of women in these Central Asian countries worsens despite the feminist struggle of their citizens.

Hands of women raised

Photo: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Día de la Mujer: ¿Qué ha pasado con las mujeres en Irán y Afganistán?

The situation of women in Afghanistan and Iran worsens. Despite the feminist struggle in these two countries, the international community fears that the rights for the female gender will diminish more and more and that the repression will be greater and greater.

Afghanistan, the Chronicle of a Death Foretold

When the United States announced the return of the troops located in Afghanistan and restarted the Taliban regime in the Central Asian country, the world raised the alert for the situation of women in the country. Since the old Taliban regime, it was known that the freedoms achieved by women, girls, and adolescents during the period of Western occupation would be at risk with the arrival of Islamic fundamentalist groups. Even despite the promise of the new Afghan government to allow certain rights acquired by women, time has finished showing that the commitment to change was not real.

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The concern was real, and the consequences were not long in appearing. Today, Afghan women cannot work, study, or go out on the street without a veil. In fact, one of the indicators that worries the international community the most is that many women do not have money to feed their children due to the prohibition to work. This has generated an immense dependence of women towards relatives and international aid, which in many cases is little.

Today the ILO (International Labor Organization) explains that work in the home is the main task assumed by women, this, under the conditions of precariousness and illegitimacy that work and domestic chores have. Likewise, despite the fact that the new government reopened universities and higher education institutions, women are banned from these spaces. This is for both private and public institutions. In 2022, the norm was to allow the studies of women, but segregating them from men. In December, the Taliban government only allowed higher education for men.

Feminism in Iran Does Not Die

For their part, after the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the moral police, women, and men in Iran took to the streets in search of change. The largest protests in recent years have had a feminist component that has shaken the Islamic regime. The repression by the government has not been long in coming. Amnesty International denounces serious torture against Iranian women in the midst of the protests. According to Carlos de las Heras, in an interview for CNN, it is estimated that the protests have left 500 people dead in the demonstrations and close to 20,000 people arrested.

In recent days, a possible poisoning in schools in Iran has been reported. This attack seems to be directed against girls and young people to discourage them from attending schools. It is speculated that this poisoning is by a gas, but the type of gas or the person responsible for these cases is unknown. However, the situation has been repeated in several cities and different study centers in the country. Nearly a thousand affected have been counted since November, when the first complaints were made.

For now, the government accuses the "enemies of Iran", fundamentalist groups, of being the architects of these cases. But the opposition believes that these may be repercussions or methods of retaliation due to the protests in recent months in the country.

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