From a gathering that was held at the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Herat to celebrate a week dedicated to women, the good news of the resumption and reopening of the chamber was announced. After a delay spreading over months, the Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry will now finally resume its operations and activities. Women entrepreneurs and business owners in Herat have welcomed this move. Most of the entrepreneurs left Afghanistan as the situation worsened and the remaining were out of business activity since August last year.
Most of the women business owners associated with the chamber are the sole breadwinners of their families. The situation in Afghanistan has furthered their vulnerabilities. With the chamber resuming its functions, it is hoped that they will be facilitated as the officials from the chamber said. “We are announcing any type of possible assistance including visas and the exporting of products,” said Mohammad Zubair Deen Parwar, head of the provincial department of Commerce and Industry.
The Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the trade activities of women business owners have increased. There is a total of 130 members of the chamber in Herat and more than 1500 women are engaged in business, according to the Department of Commerce and Industry. The recent political situation and the US withdrawal brought severe economic challenges for Afghan women entrepreneurs. They are still in the phase of recovering from the damages to their businesses.
“Since the chamber is now reopened and it has resumed activities, other women are encouraged. The women who suspended their business activities, they will resume them again,” said Bahnaz Saljoqi, a member of the chamber. After the gathering at the chamber, the participant women also took to the street to record their demand of making a commission that can look after the challenges that women are facing in Afghanistan, especially in the economic domain. “The Afghan women are restricted today. Without permission of the Islamic Emirate, the Afghan women are not allowed to go to universities and work,” said Sara Karimi, a member of MoCAP.
Concerns have been voiced multiple times over the future of Afghan women and the interim government has reassured multiple times that it will do better for women’s empowerment and rights.