Women's Rights

Afghan women dismayed by order to close beauty parlours

By Salaam Times and AFP

Women walk past a beauty salon at the Shahr-e Naw area in Kabul on July 4. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

Women walk past a beauty salon at the Shahr-e Naw area in Kabul on July 4. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

KABUL -- Beauty parlours across Afghanistan have been ordered to shut within a month, the latest measure to squeeze women out of public life.

The order Tuesday (July 4) will force the closure of thousands of businesses run by women -- often the only source of income for households -- and outlaw one of the few remaining opportunities for them to socialise away from home.

"I think it would have been good if women did not exist at all in this society," said the manager of a Kabul parlour who asked not to be identified.

"I am saying this now: I wish I did not exist. I wish we were not born in Afghanistan, or were not from Afghanistan."

Since August 2021, girls and women have been barred from high schools and universities; banned from parks, funfairs and gyms; and ordered to cover up in public.

Women have also mostly been barred from working for the United Nations (UN) or non-governmental organisations, and thousands have been sacked from government jobs or are being paid to stay at home.

'Chat and gossip'

Beauty parlours have mushroomed across Kabul and other Afghan cities for more than 20 years.

They were seen as a safe place to gather and socialise away from men and provided vital business opportunities for women.

"Women used to chat, gossip. There was no fighting here, no noise," said a salon worker who asked to be identified only as Neelab.

"When we see some happy and active faces here, we are also refreshed. The salon has a very important role; this place makes us feel comfortable."

Another salon manager said she employed 25 women who were all breadwinners for their families.

"All of them are heartbroken... what should they do?" she said.

A report to the UN's Human Rights Council last week by Richard Bennett, the special rapporteur for Afghanistan, said the plight of women and girls in the country "was among the worst in the world".

"Grave, systematic and institutionalised discrimination against women and girls" in Afghanistan, raises concerns about "gender apartheid", he said.

'For what reason?'

On Tuesday the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) appealed for a revocation of the salon order.

"This new restriction on women's rights will impact negatively on the economy & contradicts stated support for women entrepreneurship," it said in a tweet.

Raha, a 24-year-old student until she was barred from university last year, was visiting a salon Tuesday for a makeover before an engagement party.

"This place was the only place left for women to earn for themselves, and they want to take it, too," she said.

"It's a question for all of us -- why are they doing so? For what reason?"

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It is a very sad news that the beauty saloons for women are getting closed with the order of the ruling government in Afghanistan. These beauty saloons were a good source of income for women, but unfortunately, even a loaf of bread was taken from the mouths of Afghan women.


A new decree was issued again. The government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has issued a decree that all beauty saloons in the provinces of Afghanistan and from the city of Kabul must close their gates within a month. The only work that women did was beauty saloons, that's what they ended up doing. By closing the gates of the beauty saloons, women are being deprived of their work, but breadwinners of thousands of families were deprived of bringing bread for their children. Most of the women who worked in the beauty saloons were widows and were the breadwinners of their families. They found bread for their children from this work. That route was closed by the Taliban. What will these women do? By closing these beauty saloons, their customers will end, their shops will get lost. Every beauty saloon has spent thousands of Afghani on her shop. All these expenses will go away. The positions chosen by female beauticians, and they have been paying the rent for the shop for many years, and it has made this shop successful for many years with the hope that their future will be known. All this was destroyed by the Taliban with one command. The question is, what will these poor women do? They are forced to go to the market and beg so that their children would not starve. These beauty saloons were safe places for the women.


The Taliban, with a very cruel decision, closed the beauty parlors in Afghanistan. According to a report, more than 60,000 women and girls worked in these beauty parlors, and this way, they found a handful of bread for their families. If each family has an average of eight members, then think that 480 thousand (four thousand eighty thousand) people face a serious risk of starvation. If there are three women in every family, let's count the girls; In this way, 180 thousand (one hundred and eighty thousand) women and girls become, three parts of them may be forced to beg. I read the news that a woman in Kabul took poison after the Taliban closed her salon, and she lost her life because of the misfortune!