Kabul, Afghanistan – A group of Afghan women staged a protest in Kabul to express their concerns over the ongoing ban on female students, according to sources, after repeated calls by the international community to reopen girls’ schools above sixth grade.
Last month, Heather Barr, Associate Director of the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, dubbed Afghanistan the “only country on the planet” to deny girls access to education, warning the devastating impact of the Taliban action.
Protesters called on the Islamic Emirate leadership to lift the ban on girls’ education, allowing them to take an equal share of employment opportunities.
“The document that we have in our hands is useless because all of us are at home and do not have any jobs,” said Shokorya, a protester, as TOLOnews quoted.
“If they don’t address our problems we will continue our struggle,” said Arezo, another protester.
While a majority of female employees lost their jobs since the beginning of Taliban rule, a former employee of the Ministry of Interior Marghalare said she lost her job, facing economic challenges to raise her family.
“We call on the United Nations and the international community to pay attention to us and save women from these violations of their rights,” said Marghalare, who worked at the Ministry as the head of the gender department, according to the local media.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economy said that efforts are underway to provide work opportunities for women in the country.
“Specialists and elites play an important role in the development, advancement and progress of the country, and, in this regard, our policy is to support businesswomen and experts,” said Abdul Latif Nazari, Deputy Minister of Economy.
On August 15, 2021, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, rolling back women’s rights advances and media freedom – the foremost achievements of the post-2001 reconstruction efforts on gender equality and freedom of speech.
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After the Taliban imposed a ban in September of 2021, it has been 389 days that girls in Afghanistan are restricted from attending secondary schools despite international calls for reconsideration.
Last month, Heather Barr, Associate Director of the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, dubs Afghanistan the “only country on the planet” to deny girls access to education, warning the devastating impact of the Taliban action.
“This is absolutely a shameful situation which makes Afghanistan the only country on the planet which systematically denies girls access to education because of gender,” she added. “This is going to have a devastating impact.”
But the deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate said efforts are continuing to reopen schools for girls above grade six. He, however, did not provide further details on the matter.
“On this issue, officials of the Islamic Emirate have explained it to you and that is enough for now,” said Billa Karimi, Deputy Spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.
In March, the Islamic Emirate on a formal decree banned female students of grade six and above from attending classes in schools throughout the country.
The decision by the group has triggered a backlash among international communities and the United Nations, including foreign ministries of Canada, France, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the U.S., urging for immediate reconsideration of girls’ education.