NELLI (Pajhwok): Some women in central Daikundi province say they are compelled to dress like men while leaving home for work outside due to negative perception regarding working women.
Cultural restrictions and negative views about women’s abilities to work outside home and street harassment are key challenges that prevent females from gaining self-reliance.
Tens of women in Nelli, the provincial capital, have been busy in different works from running beauty parlors to sewing, designing clothes and others, but they wear men’s clothes to feel safe from men’s eye-gazing and their harassing words at work places or covering the distance between their homes and workplace.
Some Daikundi women say they are happy working in the market but their harassment put them in difficulties and most of the times they wear men’s dresses to feel safe.
Masuma Haidari, who has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Bamyan University, said she opened a dressmaking shop three years ago and her business made her economically sound and not dependent on others.
But she said: “Often men specially the youth harass us and sometimes we wear men’s clothes to protect ourselves from their harassment. When I go home during night in men’s attire, people don’t recognize me.”
Sakina Rastin, another businesswoman, said: “Our people think that women should not go out of home for work, but we will move ahead and struggle against this wrong tradition.”
She said due to non-availability of a separate market for women they worked in a joint market with men and most of the men in the market did not like women shopkeepers.
Adela, another businesswoman, said: “We hope the president will implement his promise of establishing a separate market for women in Daikundi.”
Daikundi Mayor Khadeja Ahmadi said the distribution of land in Daikundi hit a snag due to some issues which also halted progress on the allocation of land for a women market.

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