Afghan women around the globe are hitting back at the Taliban‘s strict dress codes for women attending schools and universities by posting photos of themselves adorned in vibrant and colourful traditional dresses on social media.
Over the weekend, the Taliban announced that women in Afghanistan will be allowed to study in universities, however classrooms will be split between the genders and female students will be required to wear head coverings.
On Monday, local news agencies in Afghanistan reported that university classes had begun in the country with a “curtain of separation”.
Aamaj News posted a photo on Twitter showing male and female students sitting in a classroom separated by a curtain.
Female journalists and academics born in Afghanistan but have since left the country, are hitting back at the Taliban, by posting pictures of themselves in bright traditional Afghan dresses.
A former faculty member of the American University of Afghanistan, Jahar Jalali, launched the selfie-campaign, when she re-tweeted a picture of a woman in a full black dress and veil, writing: “No woman has ever dressed like this in the history of Afghanistan. This is utterly foreign and alien to Afghan culture. I posted my pic in the traditional Afghan dress to inform, educate, and dispel the misinformation that is being propagated by Taliban.”
A sea of Afghan women followed her lead.
The head of the Afghan service at DW News, Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi, posted a picture of herself in traditional Afghan dress along with the comment: “This is Afghan culture and this is how Afghan women dress.”
London-based BBC journalist Sana Safi, posted a picture of herself in colourful traditional dress, saying: “If I was in Afghanistan then I would have the scarf on my head. This is as ‘conservative’ and ‘traditional’ as I/you can get.”
Fellow BBC journalist, Sodaba Haidare, also posted an image of herself in traditional dress, saying: “This is our traditional dress. we love lots of colour. even our rice is colourful and so is our flag.”
U.K councillor Peymana Assad, who was born in Kabul and fled to the U.K with her parents when she was three, said in a post: “Our cultural attire is not the dementor outfits the Taliban have women wearing.”
“This is Afghan culture,” Peymana Assad tweeted.
Afghan singer and activist Shekiba Teimori, who fled Kabul last month, told CNN that the “hijab existed before Kabul’s fall. We could see Hijabi women, but this was based on family decisions and not the government.”
She added that before the Taliban came to Afghanistan, her ancestors were “wearing the same colourful Afghan dresses you see in my pictures.”