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UN Envoy Denounces Ban on Women’s Beauty Salons in Afghanistan

The UN Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Roza Otunbayeva, considers banning women’s beauty salons a setback for resilience, poverty reduction, and economic recovery.

“It will disproportionately impact female entrepreneurs, which is a setback for resilience, poverty reduction, and economic recovery,” Otunbayeva stated in a Reuters interview.

Due to the closure of all women’s beauty salons and hairdressing shops in Afghanistan, over 60,000 women will lose their jobs, Khaama Press reported.

According to the report, there are over 12,000 women’s beauty salons nationwide, with an average of five women employed by each. Kabul has 3,100 women-only beauty salons; only these ladies support their families.

On Wednesday, dozens of women protested the beauty salon ban after the Taliban ordered their closure across the country.

At least 60 women participated in the protests, saying they were their families’ only breadwinners and didn’t want to close their beauty salons.

Several videos and pictures show that the women were seen carrying signs that read “food,” Justice,” and “work.”

“Do not take my bread and water,” read one of the demonstrators’ banners on Butcher Street, a popular area for beauty parlours.

“We wanted our right to work and the cancellation of the order. However, the Taliban responded with water cannons and aerial firing and took away a few girls,” a beauty artist told local media outlets.

Girls and women cannot attend high schools, universities, parks, or gyms since the Taliban government took over in August 2021. They have also issued a command to cover up in public.