News / Asia

    Afghan Women Help Drive Resurgent Economy

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Afghan women entrepreneurs at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, March 26, 2013.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Afghan women entrepreneurs at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, March 26, 2013.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on a visit to Afghanistan, has met with women entrepreneurs making new investments in agriculture, technology, the arts, and athletics.

    Since the end of Taliban rule here, Afghan women have emerged as a driving force in a new economy with more than 1,600 registered female-owned business in a country where the Gross Domestic Product has nearly quintupled in the last decade.

    "Women have entered the work area, the workspace," said Nilofar Sakhi, who directs the International Center for Women's Economic Development at the American University of Afghanistan. "They are the workspace. They are the government. They are at the parliament. And it's not easy to make them down suddenly because they have their voices, they have their contacts internationally, they have their resources. They are well equipped with information and advocacy tools."

    Secretary Kerry met with some of those entrepreneurs during his visit to Kabul.

    "We are always thinking how we can take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube by collecting good content and creating web traffic," said Roya Mahboob, 25, CEO of the software development firm Afghan Citadel.

    Internet developer Roya Mahboob speaking with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 26, 2013. (Photo: VOA / Scott Stearns)Internet developer Roya Mahboob speaking with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 26, 2013. (Photo: VOA / Scott Stearns)
    x
    Internet developer Roya Mahboob speaking with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 26, 2013. (Photo: VOA / Scott Stearns)
    Internet developer Roya Mahboob speaking with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 26, 2013. (Photo: VOA / Scott Stearns)
    Her firm designed Dari-translation software and has more than three million viewers on a platform of web channels with more than 60,000 followers across its Facebook pages.

    But she is most proud of supplying technology training to students in 40 schools with the help of Italian-born New York businessman Francesco Rulli. Mahboob says it is a chance for girls to broaden horizons.

    "It's difficult, especially for females in the schools to go outside and learn IT in courses because most of the families do not pay for them to learn in the course," she said. "Providing the free education and free IT centers in each school, when they graduate from high school if they want to work they can stay at home working online."

    Online, Mahboob says women have a freedom that is still hard to find in some parts of Afghanistan.

    "The IT and social media give this power to women to be independent and have confidence to share their ideas because in social networks no one tells them 'Why are you outside the home?' 'Why are you talking with the men?' because no one knows them," she said.

    Sharing ideas online encourages women to learn even more.

    "And they increase their knowledge and have confidence that they can share as a human, they can be as a woman share and have the same skills as the men," said Mahboob.

    Half of this year's freshman class at Kabul's American University of Afghanistan are women. Sakhi says Afghan girls today have role models unseen by previous generations.

    "Looking at women talking about their political rights in parliament, looking at women entering into business and having trade in Malaysia and Dubai, and looking at women who are successful personalities internationally of raising Afghanistan voices. This gives an image," said Sakhi.

    As a mother of two girls, Sakhi says her daughters look at her as an active mom and know they can do whatever boys do.

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    March 26, 2013 9:54 AM
    A clear demonstration, that the full participation of women in this patriarchical society is not only necessary, but it is the only way for this society to stop being parasitic to humanity. Tribal societies, in which women are not fully/absolutely emancipated and their human rights protected, no longer work; because of the massive increases in population, making such parasitic societies, unsustainable, and no longer capable of living as they did centuries ago. Only by fully emancipating women, and fully allowing women to contribute, will societies become self sustaining.

    The failure to emancipate women goes hand in hand with poverty, disease, massive population growth, lack of human rights, wars, and famines; therefore failure to fully emancipate women, should be classified as a crime against humanity, and fully codified in international law.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.