March 22, 2024

What young Afghan women want to achieve in the world of technology

Article link copied.

slide image

October 21, 2021. Alya bint Ahmed Al Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, sits on the panel during the 'New Chapter in Afghanistan: Ensuring Support of Afghan Women & Girls' meeting held in the Trusteeship Council at United Nations Headquarters.

Picture by: Amanda Voisard / UN Women

Despite bans on women’s education and rights in Afghanistan, technology is enabling them to look beyond their restrictive environment to gain more knowledge and chase their dreams.

Under the current Taliban-enforced government, cultural attitudes have forced women in Afghanistan out of secondary and higher education and restricted women’s access to work, taking away their basic rights.

Due to these living conditions, families are still trying to flee the country in order to provide their daughters with an education. Passport offices have been crowded for months now as “women and girls feel they live in a countrywide prison,” emphasized Maryam Ahmadi from Al Jazeera.

For the young women who remain in Afghanistan, restrictions have led them to search for opportunities in fields that are more accessible to them – technology. Their ability to get their hands on devices, such as phones and laptops enables them to be a part of a new world.

But, if the security challenges that they face are not enough, they also have to contend with poor internet service, power cuts, and a lack of skills in accessing technology.

As part of a questionnaire for Harbingers Magazine, young Afghan women aged 23-26 were asked about their achievements and future work aspirations.

Their responses highlighted the challenges faced on a daily basis just to be able to get an education, including how the costs of access to technology such as phones and laptops are posing a hindrance to their educational development.

In the face of these mounting restrictions, women interested in pursuing a career in technology are determined to “not give up.”

Motivation is helping me face daily obstacles and it can help you too

By Swita

Most respondents were encouraged by other women who serve as examples of successfully working online and financially providing for their families, with six out of seven participants in the questionnaire expressing how this was a source of inspiration to pursue their dreams.

The participants highlighted that these women “are very strong”, and are an example of resilience and determination.

While most of the participants in the questionnaire, six out of seven, have not yet used technology as a tool of income, it provides all of them with access to education, entertainment, and the ability to communicate with family members and friends living in different countries.

One of the women, who is working remotely, shared how various fields of opportunities offer technological advancements, such as online tutoring, content creation, remote software development, remote customer service, virtual assistant services, writing, editing, and using freelancing platforms.

When the women were asked about the skills or training required for online work, their answers varied from knowing how to use a technological device like a laptop, and speaking an international language, like English, to knowing standard coding and web development.

But, all pointed out that the support that would be most beneficial for women interested in earning money online safely and securely is professional training, financial literacy, legal advice and community networking.

All of the women who participated in the questionnaire have a Bachelor’s degree in their respective fields, but restrictions prevent them from continuing their educational journey or being able to work in their desired field, ultimately stopping them from following their passions.

One of the women pleaded: “Give Afghan women a chance,” at least in the world of technology.

Written by:

author_bio

Naziya

Afghanistan

OXSFJ & LEARN Afghan Project

Illustrated by Yuliia Muliar

Naziya, aged 13, is a strong advocate for education. She is currently receiving journalism classes through the joint project of The Oxford School for the Future of Journalism and LEARN Afghan.

While her aspirations lie in technology as an aspiring software engineer she engages in many hobbies such as painting, reading, writing and going on walks.

Naziya speaks Dari, Pashto and English.

Due to security concerns the authors image and surname have been omitted

Edited by:

author_bio

Sofiya Suleimenova

International Affairs Section Editor

Geneva, Switzerland

society