Afghan women’s designers and designers are not the focus of a growing global industry, says a top Afghan fashion official.
“Afghan fashion has not yet become a global brand,” said Taha Sadiq, director of the Ministry of Women and Gender, during a visit to London this week.
“Afghan women’s clothes are not a priority and they are not at the top of the list.
They are more important than the men’s clothes.”
Sadiq said the government has no plans to create a women’s business but has recently increased investment in its women’s sector, which includes fashion, cosmetics and footwear.
“We are building a market for women’s wear and fashion, and we will continue to invest in this sector,” she said.
Sadiq was joined by other officials, including President Ashraf Ghani, for a summit on women’s economic empowerment hosted by the International Monetary Fund in London.
Ghani is also visiting the United Kingdom for the G20 Summit in May.
Women’s clothing was the first major sector in the country to gain official status in the Afghan government.
In 2016, the country’s National Economic Development Council was set up to promote women’s industries.
Afghanistan has one of the world’s largest garment markets with some 100,000 women making garments and shoes for foreign brands.
Women’s apparel and accessories were valued at $6.3 billion in 2016, up from $2.9 billion in 2015, according to the Afghan Ministry of Economic Development.
More than 70 per cent of the women’s market in Afghanistan is in the fashion and luxury sectors, according the World Bank.
At least 30 per cent were working in the garment industry in 2016 according to UN figures.
The Afghan government is also seeking to diversify its economy away from the garment sector.
The government has been investing in social and infrastructure projects, including roads and water infrastructure, which will help the country achieve its economic goals, according Sadiq.
Safadi also noted that women’s education is among the most important challenges facing the country, saying that it is a topic that is of concern to the United Nations.
A report published in December 2017 by the Afghan National Council on Women and Girls estimated that there were 2.4 million women who were not in school, of which 1.3 million were illiterate, a far cry from the 20 million who were enrolled in primary schools in the 1980s.
“Education for women is a priority issue for the government, but the country is not ready for this,” Sadiq said.
“There is a lot of progress in the way we educate women.
We have some good programs in primary education and women are getting into higher education.
But education is not enough.
The country is still behind the curve.”
Afghans are also far behind when it comes to getting access to health care, according a report released last year by the United Nation’s International Women’s Year.
While the number of women in Afghanistan has increased in recent years, access to healthcare has been a challenge.
According to the World Health Organization, women’s health care is still woefully behind the rest of the countries in the region.
Over two-thirds of women and girls in Afghanistan do not have access to primary health care.
One out of three women in the world have no access to family planning services, according an annual report released by the World Economic Forum.
Among the reasons for this lack of access are the fact that there is no primary health clinic, as well as lack of insurance coverage for primary health services, the report said.
The country has not signed the World Trade Organization, which would allow it to open trade with other countries.
Safidi also noted the importance of women’s empowerment.
“The role of women is not just a product of economic development, it is also a key element in ensuring that women and men are equal and receive the best possible health care,” she told The Globe and Mail.