Deputy UN Chief stresses the importance of Afghan girls' education

Afghan flag during a protest in London Afghan flag during a protest in London Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

24 September 2021

Afghanistan cannot afford to lose the last 20 years of progress in terms of women’s rights.

No compromises on Afghan women’s rights are accepted. Ensuring all girls can be educated must be a zero condition for the Taliban, before the international recognition of any de facto authority, said the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed during a panel discussion on the future of girls’ education in Afghanistan, held at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. 

According to the deputy UN chief, international aid to Afghanistan must be conditional on education for women and girls. Ms. Mohammed urged the international community to support Afghan women’s expertise and prevent a reversal of two decades of gains in women’s rights. The importance of education as both a right and an investment in Afghanistan’s future was stressed also by Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The EU Council President Charles Michel, who also spoke at the UN, called for preserving "as much as possible the gains of the last 20 years".

After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, in fact, the situation for women and girls in Afghanistan improved, although some of such gains were partial and unstable. Women managed to hold positions as ambassadors, ministers, governors, and police and security force members. In 2021, the situation worsened drastically: the Taliban recently confirmed that while secondary schools were reopening, only boys would be allowed to return to school. Afghan female teachers are banned from work too.

We cannot make compromises on the protection of women's rights and on the protection of human dignity”, said the Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Shot by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan in 2012 for opposing the restrictions on educational rights, the young girl became the international symbol of the fight for girls' education.




Written by Antonella Candiago
Edited by Xavier Atkins

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