Why We Need Afghan Women in Business

elaha and roya mahboob

Afghanistan has been dominated by men for most of its history, but this cultural tradition is not necessarily part of our country’s religious beliefs. I am one of many working women in Afghanistan, and I dream about setting up my own business one day.

When democracy came to our country, women were encouraged to become prominent figures. They were urged to get involved in business and politics and be part of a more progressive Afghanistan. 

The turmoil of the last three decades, with one war following another, has hindered the progress. But starting from the post-Taliban era, Afghanistan has given much exposure to women in different sectors, including business. This has given women a chance to gain economic power and become part of the global business community. 

Women are starting and running different types of businesses, including quality handicrafts, food, packing, logistics, as well as media and consulting businesses. Women are progressive in Afghanistan. We want to be part of an improved and developed Afghanistan. 

But the behavior of our men and society has not changed very much. This remains one of the main hindrances on women’s way to progress. It will take many years for this situation to change in Afghanistan. There has been a disconnect between the progressive and liberal Afghanistan of the 1980s and today. We lost many idealistic people, not to mention progressive leaders who could develop programs that would benefit Afghanistan. To train the people and leaders to rebuild the country will be time consuming and could take decades. 

I believe that Afghanistan can attain international standards if men and women work and support each other on equal terms. Women in business in Afghanistan will improve our economy and also support household expenses. Businesses run by women can standardize lifestyles and enhance market competition. Access to global markets will increase, opening new horizons for import and export businesses.

By Saifora

Elaha Mahboob and Roya Mahboob of the Afghan Citadel Software Company (ACSC) in Herat. Photo by Juan Rodriguez.


  1. liz titus says:

    Dear Saifora,
    Perfectly stated! You make a strong case for women’s roles in the future of Afghanistan, and I could not agree more.
    The attitudes of men in your country — in fact, in every country in the world — must change. They cannot success without women, who hold up half the sky.
    All the best,

  2. This is an important and well written story. You have given readers a new perspective on how progress can happen in Afghanistan. Thank you so much for writing this piece Saifora! I wish you good luck as you work toward your dream of your own business.

  3. Hello Saifora,

    Well said! Having women be able to run start and run businesses in Afghanistan is the sort of progress needed to create financial independence for themselves and their families, especially given the global market we occupy.



  4. I am deeply heartened reading this, Saifora, for I know that if you keep working, keep writing, keep pressing forward, you are going to make your way, and you will make the way for your family and for the community around you. Keep up the excellent work!

    All best,

  5. Dear Saifora – this is a great article and thank you for sharing your thoughts. Equality in the workplace is still something we are fighting in western countries like the United States and in Western Europe. Many women are expected to hold down full time jobs and still maintain the household. How are Afghan women entering the workforce handling this factor?
    And what about education? If more women are entering professional, business roles, how are they getting educated?

  6. Very well put, Saifora! Thanks for bringing attention this important issue and for explaining the various dimensions to it.

  7. Dear Saifora,

    Thank you for sharing this. I found it interesting how there are progressive Afghan women like yourself who want to give women their natural right to work and contribute to the economy. You have very good writing skills and i hope you will be successful in starting your own business.

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