On May 22, 2022, came another attack on women’s rights in Afghanistan. The Taliban reissued an old law requiring women to cover their faces, this time specifying news anchors. Proof of this new law was seen on-air as female news anchors are seen on TV with masks just showing their eyes across all popular news channels in the country.
Sonia Niazi, a TOLOnews anchor, told the AFP news agency: "We resisted and were against wearing a mask." TOLOnews responded under pressure that they do not proceed with their resistance.
Another TOLOnews anchor, Farida Sial, told the BBC: "It's OK that we are Muslims, we are wearing hijab, we hide our hair, but it's very difficult for a presenter to cover their face for two or three hours consecutively and talk like that."
Despite the new hardship that many of these female reporters have gone through, many of their male counterparts took a stand in solidarity by also wearing masks as their report with the hashtag #FreeHerFace.
An Afghani women’s rights activist, Mina Sharif, tweeted, “Afghan men showing up for Afghan women is not just a gesture. It's a turn in the story that will change everything. Bravo, brothers.”
Afghan men showing up for Afghan women is not just a gesture. It's a turn in the story that will change everything. Bravo brothers https://t.co/BlgZq1ih8V
— Mina *Lawangeena* Sharif (@minasharif) May 22, 2022
This new law comes as a part of a wave of Taliban actions that have blocked girls and women from education, pushed women out of most employment, limited women’s freedom of movement, obstructed women’s access to health care, and abolished the system designed to protect women and girls from violence.