Afghan women are barred from attending universities. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Education

It’s 2023 and women are still barred from education and work

Last month, the Taliban administration in Afghanistan barred women from attending university and working for humanitarian organizations.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/annechen76/" target="_self">Anne Chen</a>

Anne Chen

January 17, 2023
It is 2023 and Afghan women and girls are once again robbed of their freedoms. This is supposed to be the age of progressiveness and international prosperity. The age of Malala Yousafzai. Not the Taliban’s. 

On the morning of December 20th, the Taliban effectively instituted a decree that barred Afghan women from higher education at universities. Female college students completed their last semester. Private and public universities were forced to suspend admission of female applicants. Afghan educators furiously resigned in protest. The future of education for women was cruelly left uncertain like an afterthought. 

The Islamic extremist group regained power over Afghanistan in August 2021, and it has continually upheld an ideology that confined women and girls to the household. The Taliban are chipping away at women’s freedoms, sending the nation further backward into gender apartheid. Just four days after the ban on education, the Taliban administration barred female aid workers, restricting them from working for NGOs. As a result, many NGOs had no choice but to revoke their activity in Afghanistan without female staff, and other humanitarian organizations were prohibited from employing women. The recent bans are only the latest violation of human rights. Since their takeover, the Taliban have issued restrictions on female students’ clothing and segregated them from their male counterparts in the classroom as well as public places. In March of last year, girls were prevented from attending high school in the crisis-stricken country. 

The Taliban-run ministry’s bans inevitably raised concern in the international community, fueling global anger. Their desires of strengthening diplomatic relations with the world are as good as lost in the gutter so long as they enforce these regressive and discriminatory policies. This edict was condemned as a betrayal of all women and girls and their fundamental rights as human beings. U.S. officials have warned them of costs or sanctions for such blatant neglect of women’s rights, which yields regressive consequences in global prosperity. It’s a decree that exacerbates the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and further isolates the country from the international community. 

In the 21st century, the Taliban’s reversal of women’s education is a recurring issue that persistently haunts generations and generations of women. This ban is a human rights violation through and through. The United Nations has said that the world will not reach true gender parity for another 130 years. This glacial rate of change will undeniably fall stagnant if women and girls are continually denied basic human rights. Women worldwide continue to face obstacles and limited opportunities. This will not be rectified with time alone.