For years Zardozi- Markets for Afghan Artisans negate people’s general concept about women’s inabilities and demystify women’s potential in important fields such as business and leadership. In looking into the future, Zardozi wants to create a place that is run by women for women, because opportunities for women often come from other women as they can better understand and address the challenges of the women they work for. Working in an Afghan society, Zardozi has identified a dire need for hiring female regional managers for its offices in other provinces recently.
In order to smoothly escalate our goals and services to a larger number of women, we have successfully hired Nasrin Sahibzada and Aziza Karimi as our first regional office managers in Jalalabad and Heart offices.
Jalalabad regional manager, Ms. Nasreen’s professional career started at Zardozi in 2010. She started working in the field of market development and gradually promoted to higher positions. Zardozi saw her best candidate for Jalalabad’s regional manager position. Ms. Nasreen’s commitment and thoughtful guidance and support for women securing a better future are great achievements for Zardozi. Ms. Sahibzada’s eyes filled with hope and enthusiasm as she told us, “These women need us. In order to solve problems that are too personal to women, we must put them in a comfortable situation to speak up without hesitation. Previously women were shy when discussing their life with male managers but they are happy now. We can find better solutions once we recognize the problems accurately.”
“There is a valid reason why the organization is hiring more women in our offices,” says Zardozi’s Market Development Manager. She adds, “Since Zardozi has based its Community Business Centers -Manbehs- in family houses where a non-family male is not allowed so that the women who are benefiting from our services are relaxed and their families are at ease to let them attend the Manbehs, a male regional manager cannot observe Manbehs directly and is not able to meet and discuss women’s problems and needs from near. This way, it is also difficult for managers to identify problems properly and find relevant resolutions because not all reports they receive convey the exact information needed.”
We also interviewed clients from Manbehs in Herat. Ms. Shagofa said, “My family trusts Zardozi because most of our interaction is with women staff. Previously when I would call our regional manager for solving problems, my family would doubt why I am talking with a ‘Non Mahram (male from whom Purdah is obligatory in Islam). The new regional manager, Ms. Karimi is a very good woman.”
Ms. Nasrin Sahibzada also added that the objective is not only to make Zardozi a comfortable place for our women clients but also to empower women by placing them in leadership and managerial positions where they can unleash their potential and become role models for other women. “I am working hard to omit the general stereotypes through my job. I want to create an atmosphere where my female and male colleagues do not feel the difference of whether a male or female is leading them because both have equal capabilities of running an office.”