Over 100 women are showcasing their handicrafts at a three-day expo in Kabul that has been organized by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI).
Among the goods on display are clothing, shoes and jewelry.
However, a number of businesswomen have criticized the Afghan government for not providing the necessary support for them to expand their businesses.
“We are producing two types of chips, we established our company four years ago, our company has hired sixteen employees - eight males and eight females. People prefer to buy domestic products, we also compete with other countries. We are committed to offering a good, quality product to our countrymen so that domestic products replace foreign products,” said Kubra Ali Fayeq, one businesswoman.
“I started my business three years ago, I started with little money. Now my business has grown and eight to nine women are working with me. The government has not offered any visible support to women so far, but these kinds of exhibitions are helpful,” said another businesswoman, Nisaa Rezayee.
The exhibition which is titled “National Exhibition of Creative Business Women” opened on Wednesday and is being held at Babur Gardens.
Over 100 women from various regions of the country are showcasing their products.
The ministry said that the aim of the exhibition is to expand the culture of using domestic products among the people.
“The exhibition aims to introduce Afghanistan’s domestic products (to the market) and to seek proper international markets for them. We organized similar markets in the past and achieved positive results from it and managed to introduce Afghanistan’s domestic products both on the local and international markets,” said Jawad Noori, MoIC official.
This week the World Bank released its Update on Afghanistan and stated that women’s participation in the labor force has been rising steadily since 2001, reaching 19 percent in 2016.
According to their report, about 64 percent of Afghans agree that women should be allowed to work outside the home, however, they still face a multitude of barriers, including restrictions, harassment, discrimination and violence, as well as practical hurdles such as a lack of job experience, employment skills and education.
The World Bank states that the overall literacy rates of women in Afghanistan is 17 percent, however, in some provinces that drops to under 2 percent.