Overcoming the odds

May 01 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Setting up a business is a tough proposition for anybody, wherever they are located, with women finding that the odds are often further stacked against them.

But women in Afghanistan, a country where they are still widely viewed as little more than chattels and where they were banned from outside work under the Taleban regime, have surely one of the most difficult environments anywhere in which to succeed as entrepreneurs.

Yet as BBC Online explains, overcoming Afghanistan's cultural legacy isn't always the biggest challenge women face.

One women already doing so is Hasina Sherjan, whose company Boumi exports embroidered curtains, cushion covers and other goods to Europe and America.

For her the biggest difficulties have nothing to do with being a woman, but the dire state of Afghanistan's infrastructure after two decades of war and misrule.

"The main challenge is the lack of electricity. We have to run the generator all day long, and that is expensive every week, every month."

BBC Online | Afghan women get down to business