Amidst the surge in the Covid cases across the world, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics 2020 concluded on a good note. The world witnessed the power of women in sports. Their participation in the Olympics rose to 48.8% from 38.6% in the previous Olympics in Rio in 2016. Just the Paralympics observed a 40.5% female participation.
To the rest of us women, it was a treat to watch so many women achieve, fight, hustle and give a tough competition for laurels. The medals women by all the sportswomen this year makes it quite evident that their home countries will be supporting more and more women players in the future as well.
But this reality of women’s emancipation is not the same for all countries. Only a few days ago, the Taliban issued a statement saying that women in Afghanistan will be barred from playing sports under Taliban rule. The internet is again questioning: where are the rights of women?
When asked if no women’s cricket would mean the ICC calling off the men’s Hobart Test series with Australia, Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, said in an interview with SBS News that the Taliban would not compromise. “Even for this, if we face challenges and problems, we have fought for our religion so that Islam is to be followed. We will not cross Islamic values even if it carries opposite reactions. We will not leave our Islamic rules.”
He added that Islam allows women to go out on a needs basis such as shopping, and sports is not a need. “In cricket and other sports, women will not get an Islamic dress code. It is obvious that they will get exposed and will not follow the dress code, and Islam does not allow that.”
But didn’t the Taliban promised to respect women’s rights to work and education in accordance with Islam? In the 20 years since the Taliban was drummed out, Afghan women have fought for their rights and taken a proactive role in the development of human rights in their nation. But now everything seems to be in vain.
The women who lived under the Taliban 20 years ago remember with fear their uttermost explication of the Sharia law. These women have little faith that the new regime will be any different from the previous one. As a woman, it’s unendurable to picture what it would feel like to live under the Taliban’s misogynist rule, where men will be able to whirl patriarchal narratives based on religious laws.