South Asia

Malala Yousafzai compares Taliban’s treatment of women to apartheid

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai drew parallels between the restrictions imposed on women by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the treatment of Black people under apartheid during a lecture in South Africa organized by the Nelson Mandela Foundation on Tuesday.

Yousafzai, who survived a gunshot to the head at the age of 15 in her native Pakistan for campaigning against the Pakistani Taliban’s efforts to deny girls education, has since become a global symbol of women’s resilience in the face of oppression, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

“I cannot fathom the injustice that the women in Afghanistan are facing. They’re going through a gender apartheid, where they do not have the opportunity, the right to work, to education,” she said addressing the audience. “Girls cannot go to a secondary school. A woman cannot do a job, she cannot earn for herself. She has to ask for permission to go out of her house, even if she wants to see a doctor or get groceries. This fundamental right of choice and autonomy is taken away from them,”

Since regaining power, the Taliban has implemented various restrictions, including preventing female staff from working at aid agencies, closing beauty salons, barring women from parks, and imposing travel limitations on women without a male guardian.

Malala’s comparison underlines the severity of the challenges faced by Afghan women and the urgency for international attention and action.