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The advancement of women's rights is crucial for the economic revival of Afghanistan.
Asia Pacific World News

The advancement of women’s rights is crucial for the economic revival of Afghanistan.

The report presents a dismal overview of socio-economic circumstances following the resurgence of the Taliban in August 2021. The decline of women’s rights and the near-collapse of the banking system are highlighted as significant issues of worry.

The economy of Afghanistan has not yet bounced back from the overall decline of 27% that it has faced since 2020. It seems to be reaching a point of stability, but at a significantly low level of activity.

Restrictions and disruptions 

This can be attributed to limitations placed on the banking industry, disturbances in trade and business, diminished and isolated government institutions, and minimal foreign investments and aid for sectors like agriculture and manufacturing.

The economic sector is experiencing a loss of technical expertise and abilities, particularly among women employees, in public institutions. This is making the situation worse.

While there have been advancements in certain aspects such as maintaining stability and security, as well as limiting opium production and illegal trading, these efforts have not been sufficient to alter the direction of the country.

Women’s employment in Afghanistan decreased nearly by half.

Sources: MSNA2022–2023

The number of employed women in Afghanistan has dropped by almost 50%.

Significant effect on females

In addition, the female population has been greatly affected by the humanitarian and economic crises, as well as limitations on their rights.

Women not only have limited access to public spaces, they also now consume less food and experience greater income inequality compared to men. The proportion of women working across all sectors has also dropped dramatically, from 11 per cent in 2022 to just six per cent this year.

The report also presents the Subsistence-Insecurity Index (SII), which uses 17 non-monetary indicators in three different categories to gauge deprivation.

The index reports that approximately 70% of Afghans struggle to meet their basic needs for food, healthcare, jobs, and other daily necessities.

Reduction in international assistance

Foreign aid has played a crucial role in Afghanistan, rescuing millions from hunger and preventing the loss of thousands of livelihoods and microenterprises, as well as aiding in avoiding economic collapse.

Unfortunately, the amount of aid being provided is decreasing while the majority of the population is still in a vulnerable state. According to Stephen Rodriques, the UNDP Resident Representative in the country, this is concerning.

He stated that in order to boost the private sector, financial system, and economy’s production capacity, it is necessary to invest in assistance and efforts that complement each other.

Put women first 

The report emphasized the importance of tackling issues within the banking system, specifically in the microfinance industry. This is crucial for providing support to micro and small businesses led by women, which have seen a 60% decrease since 2021.

UNDP stated that the focus on women’s economic involvement must be prioritized in all endeavors to tackle the crises in Afghanistan.

The organization requested the combination of community-based economic growth, preparedness for unexpected events, and strong growth driven by the private sector to maintain sustainable livelihoods.