Women's Beauty Salons Banned in Afghanistan From Today
From today, 12,000 beauty businesses are to cease operations in Afghanistan for good - the deadline set by the Taliban government to close all beauty salons for women in the country expired on 24 July.
This was reported by France 24.
In early July, Mohammad Sidique Aqif Mahajar, spokesman for the Taliban-run Ministry of Integrity and Prevention in Afghanistan, confirmed the content of the letter circulated on social media. The letter, published by the ministry on 24 June 2023, referred to a verbal order from Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada to ban all hairdressing and beauty salons for women in the country. One month was given to implement the order. This deadline expired on 24 July 2023.
The order banning beauty salons deprives women of one of their last available sources of income.
The ban has affected around 12,000 businesses across Afghanistan, creating new risks for an already devastated economy.
The International Labour Organisation warns that the move will have a "significant" impact on women's employment, with potentially 60,000 women losing their jobs.
In addition, beauty salons were almost the only place where women could "legally" meet and socialise outside their homes.
"Women are not allowed to go to parks, so it was a good place for us to meet friends... it was a good reason to see each other, to meet other women, other girls, to talk about problems," a woman named Sahara told Reuters.
Last week, dozens of women in Afghanistan protested against the Taliban's decision, but the demonstration was suppressed with the use of flamethrowers and threats of gunfire.
The ban on beauty salons for women is one of the many restrictions on rights and freedoms in Afghanistan. For example, most universities and schools for girls have been closed in the country. The Taliban government has also issued orders banning women and girls from studying, visiting public places such as baths, gyms and parks, and working in many areas.
Previously, the Taliban had banned beauty salons for women, but the industry recovered after the regime's overthrow in 2001.
In 2021, the Taliban returned to power after defeating the former government, which was backed by the United States.
Despite the Taliban's rise to power, beauty salons continued to operate for two years.
Salons in Afghanistan are for women only and always have windows curtained, and after the Taliban returned, the images of women in the windows were painted over.