Women make up 1,500 of the Afghanistan’s 10,000 journalists. Threatened by the Taliban, risk of death, yet still they choose to work towards a career in journalism.
It is now clear to the world that life for women in Afghanistan was never easy, and the question that remains is, if it will ever be easy?
We can, without a doubt, say that females in Afghanistan dream of a career because after all, the women there are like any other woman in the world, with a dream. Afghanistan has seen a great interest of women working towards rebuilding the country.
There are now women politicians, drivers, teachers, doctors, singers, celebrities and businesswomen in Afghanistan. A huge improvement compared to the previous, dark, years of war.
Afghan Women are eager to take part in making Afghanistan a better place purely because of their passion and dreams to live a better life, and make the future brighter for their children and the future generations to come.
From my visits to Afghanistan, I have seen girls and boys going to school with a great interest in education. I recall waking up one morning and looking out of the window in my room, seeing children dressed in uniform heading towards school, Girls wearing white scarves and black dresses and the boys wearing blazers, shirts and trousers with polished shoes, cheerfully heading to school.
However, with the withdrawal of the troops and reduced aid to Afghanistan there is a very high risk of these gains and the achievements of Afghan women and men, which are already very fragile, to be reversed back as no one knows what the future holds for Afghanistan.
Fatimah, a young Afghan girl, aged 21, whom I met in Afghanistan, Jalalabad province, said that the Taliban are not the only reason that stops men and women from pursuing a career in journalism, but it is the lack of security in the country, and the unorganised policies in the countries laws.
She said, “I want a career in journalism, but the lack of security and the lack of protection for journalists in Afghanistan stops me. My family, especially my father is against my decision, he is not permitting me to work towards the career in journalism because he fears losing me.”
On September 16th, young female journalist, known as Palwasha Tokhi, who worked for Bayan, a local radio in northern Balkh province, was killed inside her home.
Palwasha Tokhi studied and completed her Masters degree in Thailand, two months before she was killed.
She was taken to the Mazar-e-Sharif hospital after being stabbed by unknown men. Mohammad Khalil Tokhi, her father, said the men broke into their home when he was not there, stabbed Palwasha and then fled. Tokhi was the second radio journalist killed in Mazar-e-Sharif.
There were claims that Palwasha had been killed because she worked for the German military and it was thought she had links with them.
Tokhi’s former colleague said, “The insurgents tell people that those who work for the West are promoting Christianity in Afghanistan and are against Islam.”
Her murder is still a mystery and no one has found her killers. This raises the question, if the Afghan police/government are trying hard enough to bring those who commit crimes, such as killings of journalist, to justice.