Beauty salons are one of the last safe havens for women in Afghanistan, but they too are about to disappear. The Taliban is outlawing salons across the country, ordering them to close in one month, putting thousands of women out of work.
“We can’t feed ourselves without this beauty salon,” said a salon employee who asked that Global News protect her identity out of safety concerns.
She works at a salon in Kabul with 30 other colleagues who will soon be jobless. “They want women to disappear from society.”
The Taliban edict is part of an escalating effort to erase Afghan women and girls from public life.
“This will put thousands of women and their families at the risk of starvation,” said Murwarid Ziayee, senior director of the NGO Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.
“Most of them are the only breadwinners of their family.”
Since coming to power, the Taliban has barred women and girls from schools, universities, and most forms of employment. They’re also banned from parks, gyms and stadiums.
“It seems the Taliban starts their day in the morning thinking of what else is left for women they can ban and restrict,” said Ziayee.
On Thursday, Taliban spokesperson for the Ministry of Vice and Virtue Sadiq Akif Mahjer claimed salons offer services forbidden by Islam.
He also said they’re too expensive for grooms and their families who traditionally pay for the bride and her female relatives to visit the salon before the wedding.
Aid organizations warn the ban is robbing women of their income and dignity, but fear there will be few repercussions.
“We need support from powerful countries that have influence,” said Ziayee.
In a country where most Afghans live below the poverty line, women entrepreneurs insist this ban will hurt everyone.
“We’re worried about how to survive,” said a Kabul salon owner, who also asked that her name be withheld.
She opened her salon five years ago and employs five women.
“Everyone is shocked, everyone is scared,” she told Global News. “We’re losing everything.”
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