As the world turns its attention to Ukraine, Afghanistan’s women continue to struggle for basic human rights under the Taliban.
A Fairfield-based company in south Sydney are doing their part by releasing a new clothing collection created by newly arrived skilled migrant and refugee women from Afghanistan.
Modest Fashion Outlet, a community-oriented Australian fashion label that provides training and employment opportunities to newly arrived migrant and refugee women, are showing their solidarity with the women of Afghanistan this week, as co-founders Shaqaeq Rezai and Parwin Taqawi work to ensure the violation of women’s basic human rights in Afghanistan is given the attention it requires.
“Whilst we are celebrating another International Women’s Day, we must not forget those whose rights are still denied,” the pair said in a joint statement released this week.
“In the past six months, since the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, we have seen the life of women and girls change drastically.”
“Girls cannot attend school beyond the sixth grade, and women are banned from government jobs. There are absolutely no women among the 33 cabinet ministers of the Taliban government.”
Parwin Taqawi has worked with women in newly arrived communities for years and said that witnessing the positive impacts of access to education, employment and involvement of women in leadership roles has kept her motivated.
“It is crucial that women of Afghanistan enjoy the same rights as we do here in Australia,” she said.
“We cannot forget about their increasingly dire circumstances. It is absolutely imperative that we show solidarity and encourage the Australian Government to do more.”
Founder Shaqaeq Rezai added that: “…when women work and participate in all aspects of the public sphere (especially in leadership roles), we progress faster towards an equitable and better society.”
Tamana Mirzada, an Afghan Australian refugee and human rights advocate, believes that the conversation around women’s rights in Afghanistan is more critical than ever.
“In the past 20 years, the achievements of Afghan women have significantly contributed towards the advancement of Afghanistan as a nation,” she said. “We have seen growing female participation in education, employment and public life. Now everything has again become uncertain and dangerous for women”.
On Wednesday night, Mirzada will join fellow Afghan female advocates Hava Rezai, Bibi Goul Mossavi and Haseba Ebrahimi to discuss the concerning situation of women and girls seized within the current humanitarian crisis.
The panel discussion is part of an IWD event highlighting the plight of Afghan women. It will take place at The Ambassador Venues in Fairfield between 6 and 10pm, and feature poetry performances, a fashion show, live music and Afghan food.