Closure of beauty salons deals major financial blow to women in Afghanistan

A week after the Taliban ordered all beauty salons in the country to close, female beauticians say they are extremely stressed about their future. The order affected about 12,000 businesses and over 60,000 women lost their jobs – many of whom were the sole breadwinners in their families.

These women have said the impact on their livelihoods and families is immense.

One woman who stood outside the salon where she had worked said entering her former place of employment was now forbidden. Mojda Niazi, who was in tears, said she is very worried about her family’s financial security now that she’s not allowed to work.

Niazi said: “Unfortunately, it has been a week since beauty salons  closed and I was not able to make even 10 afghani ($0.12). This is a big economic smash for all women and girls who used to work in this sector, particularly for me. If we stay at home, there is no work, but when we go out and work women and girls can financially support their fathers, brothers, and husbands,” Niazi said.

She also shared her frustration with the Taliban not having allowed her to retrieve her salon’s equipment.

Her livelihood, like many others, has been stripped from her abruptly, leaving her and her family uncertain about their future.

Aziza Qasemi, who has worked with international and government institutions for 18 years, said she started working at a beauty salon to support her five-member family after the Taliban took control of Kabul in 2021.

Now, with the closure of beauty salons, her means of supporting her family has been snatched away.

“It has been a week or ten days since I faced uncertainty. I can not think about any other business in order to provide for my family,” Qasemi said.

These female beauticians criticize the international community for not exerting enough pressure on the Taliban and standing up for women’s rights.

Under the current conditions in Afghanistan, which includes an economic crisis and high unemployment rates, many of these women relied on their salon incomes to feed their families. Now that this has been stripped from them, they have appealed for support in finding ways to address the economic consequences of the Taliban’s latest decree.