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you're an adult Afghani woman, you're probably one of the 94% who never
attended school because the Taliban prohibited it. Although 3 million girls now
attend school in Afghanistan, the long-term prospects for receiving an
education are grim.
attend school means to risk your life. Walking to and from school you could be
beaten, attacked with acid, or killed. At school, you risk being a victim of
one of hundreds of bombings and other attacks that have occurred by those who
believe your education violates Islamic tenets.
you are not physically attacked, there is a good chance that between 12 and 16
years of age your father or other male member of your household will sell you
into an arranged marriage. Your education ends without your consent.
if your family wants you to continue your education, there may not be a school
for you to attend because your religion and culture forbids males to serve as
teachers to female students.
shortage of female teachers is also the result of persecution under the
pretense of doing Allah's will. For example, one woman serves in full burqa as
a member of the Afghan Uniformed Police with her husband's consent. She lives
in fear of other family members finding out about her job.
a cover, she tells some that she works as a teacher. However, this police
officer risks being beaten by family members who would disapprove of her teaching
instead of staying at home.
are also financial dangers plaguing the educational system that may soon end the
education of many children of both genders. For instance, the British military
built many schools and hospitals. Now the Afghani government claims it lacks
the financial resources to keep these facilities open.
be sure, there are a few bright spots on the educational scene. Razia Jan's Zabuli
Education Center teaches hundreds of girls. Dr. Sima Simar, a human rights
activist, has opened more than a hundred Afghani schools through her Shuhada Organization, with a focus on providing education to young females.
there is to be long-term peace in Afghanistan, education of the future men and
women will be necessary. To that end, steps must be taken to ensure that
today's female students continue to attend school.
the rule of law must be applied firmly to deal with those who would attack
female schoolgirls or teachers regardless of the motivation behind such
attacks. If a man's tenets condemn this, he may believe as he wishes, but under
the Afghani constitution and international conventions he has to respect the
tenets of Afghani women and girls who wish to get an education. If an Afghani man seeks to act on his beliefs
which clash with the Afghani women's beliefs, the Afghani government needs to
invoke the rule of law and take action to deter and punish actions taken upon
such a man's actions. As part of such deterrence, there should be secure
transportation and facilities protected by law enforcement members who support
women receiving an education.
arranged marriages should be prohibited until a female student voluntarily
terminates her studies, whether at age 16 or after completion of a
post-graduate degree. Under ideal circumstances, arranged marriages would be
abolished. However, that is unlikely to occur in the near-term given Afghani
the international community should work through NGOs in conjunction with the
Afghani government to ensure that there is sufficient funding to maintain the
schools and to provide an adequate supply of female teachers to staff them.
proactive steps are taken now to protect the rights of Afghani women to an
education, another generation will be consigned to illiteracy, subservience,
and dependency, and the growth of the Afghani nation and economy will be
defy attackers to learn for emancipation, India Today (Sept. 28, 2012)
'A ray of
hope' where girls didn't count, CNN (Sept. 27, 2012)
schools in Afghanistan may be forced to close, UK Telegraph (Sept. 27, 2012)
Nobel Prize to Hazara Human Rights Activist Sima Samar, Kabul Press
(Sept. 27, 2012)
security: the Afghan women taking on the Taliban, UK Guardian
(Sept. 27, 2012)