The idea that there is educational inequity disfavoring young women and girls is no surprise and in fact, has become common knowledge. But how many know the actual stories of these girls and women? Few people are familiar with the education landscape outside their city, state, or country. We at EBV have decided to begin a journey to uncover the global state of girls' education. We plan to spotlight different countries and the issues within each one as well as discuss ways to support and raise awareness.
As a child I grew up immersed in learning, I was always reading and writing or drawing. It wasn't until I watched Malala Yousafzai's story unfold on television that I realized this wasn't true for all children. That's when I presumed that it was a privilege to be able to attend classes every day and read textbooks on English or history. Yet, education should not be regarded as a privilege because it is a fundamental human right. The right to an education belongs to all children. Unfortunately in Afghanistan, girls and women are being denied this very basic human right.
During the crusade to fight for the right to education, there was a considerable increase in enrollment at all educational levels “from 1 million students in 2001 to around 10 million in 2018. The number of girls in primary schools increased from almost zero in 2001 to 2.5 million in 2018.” Sadly since September 2021 following the Taliban takeover, the return to school for all Afghan girls over the age of 12 has been indefinitely postponed leaving 1.1 million girls and young women without access to formal education. Afghanistan is the only country in the world that forbids girls to go to secondary school.
In a Geneva Solutions article by journalist Tooba Neda Safi, she writes about the issues facing Afghan girls. She profiles a mother of three children to illuminate the very real stories of the women and children. The words of Wagma, a mother living in Kabul are saddening to hear. She fears her daughters are destined to never have the opportunity to achieve their dreams. She talks about how she was preparing to go to University when the Taliban first took over and she could no longer pursue her interest in engineering. She says “Now, I'm very upset to see my daughters cannot go to school. Both girls are talented. Manigha wants to be a diplomat and my little girl Marzia loves journalism. Every night when they sleep, I slowly go into their room, caress their innocent faces and cry.” While there are so many just like Wagma, there are organizations and people fighting to change the fate of young women and girls like her daughters.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's mission is to contribute to the building of a culture of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development, and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication, and information. This organization has continually supported Afghanistan and is working to increase public awareness with its advocacy campaign “Literacy for a Brighter Future”. Several organizations are working to support Afghanistan including the Malala Fund which has partnered with Education Champions to keep pressure on the Taliban government to reopen schools. The Malala Fund is just one of the many organizations that have taken a stand to help Afghanistan, and although access to education may appear to be a problem that is too overwhelming to solve there is still action you can take to help.
What can we do?
We can support the fight for girl’s education and donate to invest in helping girls go to school
The Malala Fund https://malala.org/ways-to-support
Women for Women International https://support.womenforwomen.org/donate
Afghan Aid https://www.afghanaid.org.uk/
We can learn more about the stories of young women and girls and educate those around you, in your community, and in your workplace
Taliban bans women from attending university https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/12/20/1144502320/the-taliban-took-our-last-hope-college-education-is-banned-for-women-in-afghanis
Young Afghan women share their stories
Read about Mursal Fasihi story