Security has been long recognized as a threat to the working lives of different segments of the Afghan society. It has been the main obstacle to the development of many citizens, and businesswomen in Herat are no exception.
In an interview with the CSHRN, Nafasgol Jami, a businesswoman from Herat, said that security concerns often discourages women to work.
“Women working in the food or carpet weaving sector cannot travel to the villages, neither can rural women relocate their businesses to the city” Ms. Jami adds that businesswomen do not enjoy the same opportunity as businessmen do. And, they cannot move from one province to another to carry out their economic activities.
CSHRN: Aside from business, what other activities do you do?
Jami: I have been involved in various women-related fields for the past fifteen years. Currently, I have twenty-five employees in my company, and around one hundred people are benefited from its activities. Previously, I was in charge of eighty women working in the food processing, carpet waving, handicrafts and embroidery sectors.
CSHRN: Apart from security problems, what are other problems businesswomen face in Herat?
Jami: The traditional structure of society and the negative attitude of men towards women’s employment are major obstacles to the development of businesswomen in Herat. Men do not treat women as equal to realize the fact that women have the ability and talent to manage businesses and work for the improvement of the economy of their family and country.
According to Ms. Jami, the government has not kept its promises to provide suitable working conditions and assist women in improving their businesses. She adds that women businessmen are not in a good position in terms of lack of facilities and meeting their economic needs; and there is no suitable market for their product.
CSHRN: As a businesswoman, what is your view of peace negotiations with the Taliban?
Peace is the aspiration of all citizens, especially women, if the peace is inclusive and lasting and results in a good economy, the right to education and work, we all want it and we hope it will be achieved soon.
CSHRN: What do Herat businesswomen expect from peace talks?
Jami: Inclusive peace and tranquility is the most important demand of businesswomen; because when there is peace, businesswomen will make progress in their work.
Referring to the low presence of women in the composition of the government’s negotiating team, she said that Afghan women have good abilities and skills in every field qualifying them to share equal opportunity with men.
CSHRN: As a citizen, what is your suggestion regarding the peace process?
Jami: It is the demand of every citizen that the government and international community involved in peace talks ensure that people are not re-victimized. We want lasting peace that provides security so that we no longer see violence and economic difficulties. She also adds that, in order to provide more opportunity, the government should pay more attention to those businesswomen who have insufficient capital and are suffering from financial constraints.