UN calls for foreign community to unite over education for Afghan women

Girls in Kapisa province, July, 2021. File photo.

Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Amina Mohammed has called on the international community to do their best to make sure Afghan women have access to education in Afghanistan.

Mohammed also urged the international community to assist Afghan women in the education sector as well as remain united to ensure the rights of women in the country.

“The international community must continue its solidarity to address the urgent educational and rights needs of Afghan girls. We need to stand in solidarity with these girls and raise their voices that they are not alone,” Mohammed said.

“We will also continue to provide funding for access to education, health care, food, and other essential services,” she added.

Mathu Joyini, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, said depriving Afghan girls of education rights in Afghanistan was unacceptable and that providing women with education through online platforms has become difficult in the country. 

“What is happening in Afghanistan is deplorable. When we talk about digital education, how do we make sure girls get access to digital education? They will receive calculating education so that they can have meaningful participation in the digital world. Therefore, education is very difficult for [Afghan] girls,” Joyini said.

The Taliban gradually imposed restrictions on Afghan women and girls after the Taliban seized control of the country in August 2021. Banning girls from high schools and barring women from university education and working for non-government organizations are among these restrictions.

Meanwhile, some female students say that life without education has no meaning for them and called on the Taliban to lift bans on women’s education in the next academic year 

Sudaba, a student in the 11th grade, said: “We spent more than a year without school, it is very difficult. All our hope is [pinned on] the coming new year. We want to go back to school; Don’t let us down.”

Mohsina Saboor, an Afghan teacher, also criticized the Taliban’s policies toward Afghan women, stating: “Prohibiting girls from education above grade six in schools will leave devastating consequences for girls, families, and the country. Every day, millions of girls lose their opportunities and dreams.”

She also noted that Afghan girls and women deserve to get an education. The new academic year will start in less than twenty days in Afghanistan but the Taliban, so far, has not given the green light for restrictions to be lifted on the education of tens of thousands of women and girls who face uncertain futures.