Women in Afghanistan: #FreeHerFace campaign launched in protest of new Taliban law

The Taliban ordered female news anchors to cover their faces while on air, prompting the men to cover their faces too in solidarity, in the latest example of anti-women laws by the extremist group.

 Women wearing burqas pause at the side of a road in Kabul, Afghanistan October 26, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/JORGE SILVA)
Women wearing burqas pause at the side of a road in Kabul, Afghanistan October 26, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JORGE SILVA)

Male news anchors in Afghanistan started the #FreeHerFace social media campaign by covering their faces on air on Sunday after the Taliban ruled on Thursday that female anchors had to cover their faces while broadcasting.

At first, there was a low level of compliance with the new law, but after a couple of days, the Taliban began enforcing it.

In response, male anchors wore masks while they were on the air in solidarity with their female colleagues and circulated their photos on Twitter with the hashtag Free Her Face.

 Afghan women's rights defenders and civil activists protest to call on the Taliban for the preservation of their achievements and education, in front of the presidential palace in Kabul (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER) Afghan women's rights defenders and civil activists protest to call on the Taliban for the preservation of their achievements and education, in front of the presidential palace in Kabul (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

The trend caught wind outside of Afghanistan with both male and female journalists and news anchors from around the world tweeting their own selfies in masks together with the hashtag and messages of support for the women in Afghanistan.

This is the latest order from the Taliban that impedes women's freedom. Since they took control of the country last summer, the Taliban leaders have blocked girls from secondary education, limited women's freedom of movement and greatly harmed women's careers and access to healthcare.

On May 9, women and older girls were ordered to cover their faces in public and even avoid going out in public where possible.