I am one of the female aid workers in Afghanistan and, like all the other female staff, this ban has really had an impact on my life. It causes me a lot of psychological pressure. I didn’t even know how to deal with it. It’s a nightmare. 

It is so unfair to be excluded from your rights because of your gender. Working is not only my dream or a human right, it is also the way I support my family. 

Even before the ban, as a female employee, I faced many challenges. The security situation in the country has always been bad. It's not just the challenges of movement or the problems with the Hejab, overall, it was already a struggle. 

Earlier last year there was a shooting in our province, we were in the field and while community members were fighting with each other - one of them started shouting next to us: ‘Where are the women staff? Tell me! I will kill them! Where are they?’ We were petrified. 

Since the ban, we are even more stopped at checkpoints, and I fear these checkpoints because when they stop me, even though I have a UN ID card and a permission letter, they behave by treating us disrespectfully and threatening us. 

But now, I'm done lamenting. I am angry. Women are half of a country, and we were not born to stay at home, cook or give birth. Let us work, let us learn, and let us live! 

To all women, remember: the tree that survives the storm will become the strongest tree in the ground!


Name and identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of the humanitarian worker.