Women in Afghanistan seek equal education rights, says DiCarlo

UNITED NATIONS — Women in Afghanistan are calling for the same educational opportunities and freedoms enjoyed by men, United Nations Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo told the Security Council on Tuesday.

Addressing ambassadors during an open debate on the role of women and youth, DiCarlo, who recently visited Kabul, emphasized the urgent need to support Afghan women in their quest for equality.

“Women bear the brunt of the global rollback of human rights,” she said.

During her visit, DiCarlo observed firsthand the systemic denial of basic rights to Afghan women, including education and employment opportunities.

“Women I met in Kabul spoke of their aspirations and dreams: to receive the same education as men, to have equal employment opportunities, and to choose their own futures. They look to the global community to help them realize these rights so they can contribute to their country’s future,” she said.

DiCarlo noted that Afghanistan is not unique in this regard and that commitments to gender equality are being ignored or reversed in many regions.

She underscored the importance of the Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace, which calls for dismantling patriarchal power structures and ensuring women’s equal access to opportunities.

“Dismantling structural gender inequalities is not only a matter of equity and rights,” she asserted. “It is also a powerful means to enhance the success of peace and political processes.”

DiCarlo highlighted that U.N. special political missions are dedicated to promoting women’s rights and meaningful participation in peace processes.

Youth Inclusion

Youth inclusion was another critical focus of DiCarlo’s remarks. She stressed the importance of young people in shaping their futures and participating safely in peace processes and electoral activities.

“They are not ‘adults in the making’; they are full human beings with hopes, aspirations, ideas, and energy to contribute right now,” she said.

DiCarlo emphasized that engaging youth in peace processes is an opportunity that governments should seize to rebuild trust in institutions and increase intergenerational solidarity.

To support youth participation, the U.N. is allocating resources from the Peacebuilding Fund to back National Action Plans for Youth, Peace, and Security. Regional efforts, such as the African Union’s framework and the Arab Regional Youth, Peace, and Security strategy, are also instrumental in catalyzing national actions, she said.

DiCarlo also highlighted environmental peacebuilding, where young women often play leading roles, and called for recognizing and advancing the contributions of young environmental defenders, community leaders, and peacebuilders.

In conclusion, the top UN official emphasized that transformative changes rely on national action involving all segments of society, supported by international efforts. She urged the Security Council to reinforce that women, alongside men, are responsible for building peace and prosperity in their societies.

“Gender equality and realizing the aspirations of young people are essential for sustainable peace and security around the world,” she concluded.