Afghanistan and The Fragility Of Women's Rights. Can Bitcoin Help?

Photo credit: Haroon Sabawoon—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Good morning, friends!

After swimming at 6:30am this morning (I don’t know what possessed me to do that), I’m now sitting in my living room with a cup of coffee. I’m loving it! The silence of the early morning is perfect for writing.

Before chipping away at writing though, I came across some gut-wrenching news…The Taliban stormed into banks forcing women to quit their jobs and send their male relatives to work instead.

This is profoundly heartbreaking because I put myself in these women’s shoes. The anger, the sadness, the powerlessness. I am them, they are me.

Their issues are my burden to carry too.

So, I decided to use my privilege of voice to highlight this issue. That’s why today, I want to talk about women, financial oppression and the salvation of bitcoin (in the context of Afghanistan).

But first, a quick primer into what’s going on…

The Taliban Is Taking Over Afghanistan

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 until the U.S. took over about 20 years ago.

More recently - in early July - Taliban militia began seizing territories across Afghanistan. Now much of the northern, western and southern country has been reclaimed. Only less than three weeks before the United States is set to withdraw its last troops.

Some people worry a that full Taliban take over is imminent while others fear another Afghan civil war is coming.

It’s not surprising the Afghan people are feeling like they’re walking on eggshells. So, to combat that fear, the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, delivered a speech today promising not to give up the “achievements” of the last 20 years.

Afghan Women Are Forced To Quit Their Jobs

Taliban gunmen walked into the offices of Azizi Bank (in Southern Kandahar) and ordered nine women working there to leave, literally escorting these women to their homes. Instead of returning back to work, they were ordered to send their male relatives to work.

"It's really strange to not be allowed to get to work, but now this is what it is," Noor Khatera, a 43-year-old woman that worked in the accounts department of the bank. "I taught myself English and even learned how to operate a computer, but now I will have to look for a place where I can just work with more women around."

Two days after the takeover at Azizi Bank, three Taliban fighters with guns entered the branch of another Afghan lender, Bank Milli (in Western Herat), reprimanding female employees for showing their face in public.

Again, women were forced to quit their jobs and send their male relatives in their place.

Women Under the Taliban Regime

Should the Taliban take full control of Afghanistan again, it’s pretty safe to say the regime will not allow women to study, work, or make a living.

Instead, it could signal the reversal of women’s rights because under the Taliban’s strict interpretation of Islamic law:

  • women cannot work

  • girls are not allowed to attend school

  • women have to cover their face

  • women have to be accompanied by a male relative if they want to leave their homes

In the past, women who dared to break the rules - whether intentionally or not - suffered humiliation and public abuse by the Taliban's religious police.

Fast forward to today, whether women will be allowed to work in banks in areas that the Taliban are taking over again, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson said:

"After the establishment of the Islamic system, it will be decided according to the law, and God willing, there will be no problems," Zabihullah Mujahid

Am I the only one who thinks “God” will not concede to giving women rights? God, after all is a man.

Afghan Women’s Rights In A Backwards Rat Race

Women working in fields like journalism, healthcare and law enforcement have been killed since peace talks began last year between the Taliban and the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

"The Taliban will regress freedom at all levels and that is what we are fighting against," an Afghan government spokesperson said. "Women and children are suffering the most and our forces are trying to save democracy. The world should understand and help us."

Many educated Afghan women also took to social media to express their frustration and ask support from the world.

"With every city collapsing, human bodies collapse, dreams collapse, history and future collapse, art and culture collapse, life and beauty collapse, our world collapse," Rada Akbar wrote on Twitter. "Someone please stop this."

Bitcoin Gives Back Women’s Rights

As a minority woman, who grew up in South America and the Middle East with a short stint in Southern Africa, I know full-well that no country is saint.

The United States who so proudly waves its freedom flag while secretly creating intense pain, systemic poverty and injustices around the world is not perfect either. If you disagree, you have not walked in another person’s shoes. Sorry to say.

Therefore, I am not attached to a single government or a country. I’d be a fool to given what I have seen firsthand.

I’m a big believer that bitcoin is the great equalizer. Buying bitcoin is my form of protest and my way of fighting for women’s rights. Bitcoin is a chance at a fair fight, something most of us - especially women of colour - have never been awarded. AND, it’s an opportunity to build wealth, something that’s always felt so out of reach.

For too long there has been discrimination against on women on job opportunities, banking and investments. Just look at Canada…

Canadian women weren’t entitled to open a bank account without obtaining their husband's signature until 1964… and that’s Canada, a first world country! So, imagine a woman’s position in a third world country today. A trans-woman, or gender diverse woman, or a differently-abled women at that…

It’s a new level of fucked up.

So, here I am dear reader, deeply frustrated to see progress in Afghanistan’s women’s rights being threatened in the name of God, morality, power and the law.

That’s why I believe having bitcoin can be the solution. It could allow women to save, transfer and invest money within and outside of Afghanistan.

Bitcoin has the power to offer financial opportunities, weaken authoritarian powers like the Taliban, and exalt our women’s rights that are often undermined in the legacy system.

With bitcoin, a woman’s sovereign power cannot be taken from her by a gunman.


“The capitalism that dictates our economy today is not the capitalism on which America was founded. We must continue to chip away at harmful work culture, prioritization of profit, and mistreatment of employees in order to reestablish what capitalism can be.” - Simon Sinek. Listen here.


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