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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs