Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Few Women Behind the Wheel

By Habib-u-Rahman Ibrahimi

Sardar Mohammad, the head of licensing for the Kabul traffic department, told IWPR that only 68 women in the capital have been granted driving licenses in the last two years, and that eight of those have been non-Afghans. (For the position just over a year ago, see: Women In Driving Seat

Karima Salek is the director of the economic development department at the ministry of women’s affairs, which ran the courses with the assistance of a German aid organisation. She said that 60 women so far have graduated from the programme.

But women with driver’s licenses can still find the road bumpy.

“While I’m driving, the young men bother me – even driving in front of me, blocking my way and shouting ‘I love you! I love you!’” said Alina Sarajegar. “I will stop driving if these problems persist.”

Azada Sadat, who works for the government, said she had secretly taken the driving course but was unable to put her new skills to use. “Now I am married, and my family would not let me drive,” she said.

In the western city of Herat, the driving lesson programme for women has been shut down by the local authorities.

Habib-u-Rahman Ibrahimi is an independent journalist in Kabul.

As coronavirus sweeps the globe, IWPR’s network of local reporters, activists and analysts are examining the economic, social and political impact of this era-defining pandemic.


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