Afghanistan: Herat gets its third women’s only market

A women’s only market – Marmar Bazar – has been established in western Herat province for women to sell their own products and handicrafts.

Behnaz Saljuqi, the owner of the market and deputy head of the Herat Women’s Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative aims to help local women earn a living.

She says there are 46 shops at the new market – the third such trading center for Herat women.

One trader, Sediqa Tamasuki, said: “This is the third market after Khadija-e-Kobra and Prince markets, which is built for women’s activities and businesses. This market has many features, including being located in the middle of the city.”

A number of women traders welcomed the initiative, stating such markets are crucial for women in Afghanistan under the present circumstances.

Zainab Shafizada, another trader at the Marmar Bazar stated: “We are very happy with the establishment of this center. My job is fruit processing. I am happy that we sell our products for women in this place and women can buy better and more freely. We hope that more markets will be built [for women].”

Marzia Mazhar, who sells jewelry, said that she was also happy about the establishment of the market and said: “We work together. Now it has just started and it is good. We hope that women’s work and businesses will be promoted more.”

The establishment of this market comes amid ongoing restrictions against women by the Taliban.

The Taliban governor’s spokesman in Herat, Hamidullah Mutawakkal, however, stated that Herat’s local administration supports such initiatives and that “the Islamic Emirate (Taliban administration) supports all the rights given to women by Islamic law.”

He added that women can work and do business based on Islamic Sharia and the government (Taliban administration) is also trying to provide a special place for women to work.