At a time where women and men all over the world are championing for the active inclusion, participation and treatment of women in public and private spaces, and the movement for gender equality has taken several dimensions, it is a rather shocking and sad regressive movement for the women in Afghanistan.
The progress of the feminist movement has hit a halt with the recent takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan, after almost 20 years of a US intervention that allowed for a more liberal and accommodative treatment of women and girls. This is almost predictor and practically demonstrated by the features of the last regime of the Taliban, which suppressed the acquisition and expression of women and girls, ih education and social life.
In practical terms girls were not allowed to hold jobs or leave their homes without a male relative accompanying them. Anything contrary to this fundamentalist interpretation of Islam by the Taliban, attracted severe punishments, which were often times brutal floggings or beatings.
In an interview with the New York Times, Taliban spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid said while women will eventually be allowed to return to work and go on trips to schools and hospitals, they would need a male chaperone for trips that last several days.
Under the old Taliban rule, women were not allowed to attend school, and faced public flogging if they were found to have violated morality rules, like wearing a burqa before going out.
Even though it has been announced immediately after the Taliban takeover, that women should remain inside; the Taliban spokesman says women will be treated fairly and that directives were only temporarily to protect women, pending the security issues get better and when they train their forces on how to treat women.
After 20 years of US intervention, a return of power to the Taliban exposes and endangers women and girls in the face of an already difficult situation. With the right to education and fair hearing taken, it is an alarming retrogression to the global progress and movement for gender equality. With women climbing up leadership positions, and countries celebrating a better percentage of female representation in positions of power, this Taliban takeover, has traced 20 steps backward.