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Women under the Taliban

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Women under the Taliban were extremely oppressed. It is one of the few cases of true sexism.[1]

Dress Code

Women under the Taliban were not allowed to go outside without a burqa on[2] and not allowed to wear brightly colored clothing as it might be viewed as sexually attractive (according to the Taliban)[3].


Women were forbidden to study or to be educated after the age of eight. And until the age of eight they were only permitted to study the Qur'an. There were underground schools to teach women and girls, such as the "Golden Needle Sewing School", but if caught, the teachers in the school faced execution.[4]


Women were not allowed to work at all[5]. The only women exempt from this were women in the health care field. The women who worked in the health care field however, worked under very deprived conditions[2].


Women were forbidden to go outside their homes or use public transportation without a male relative to chaperon them. Girls in a female-run orphanage (the female staff were let go) were not allowed outside for a year for recration or play[2]. Women were also banned from riding motorcycles and bikes, even with their male relative present. There were segregated busses to prevent men and women from riding on the same bus[6].

Health Care

Male doctors were no longer allowed to treat women, as they previously had[7]. Some women established informal "clinics" in their homes[7]. There was only one hospital that women could attendCite error: Invalid <ref> tag. Tag has more than one name associated with reference..


The Taliban often forced extreme punishment on women during their reign. Some examples are:

  • In October of 1996 a woman had the tip of her finger cut off for wearing nail varnish.
  • When the Taliban raided the house of a woman who ran an informal school, they took her children and beat them, threw the woman down a flight of stairs (which caused her to break her leg), and then imprisoned her. They also threatened to stone the poor woman to death if she did not sign a "declaration of loyalty" to the Taliban and its laws.[7]


  1. "RAWA, about us." (in English.). Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Marsden
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named islamfortoday1
  4. Synovitz, Ron. "Afghanistan: Author Awaits Happy Ending To 'Sewing Circles Of Herat'", Radio Free Europe, March 31, 2004.
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Gohari
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named rawa1
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Latifa My forbidden face: Growing up under the Taliban. UK: Virago Press pp29-107.

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