Millions of Afghan female students have been unable to attend secondary schools and universities for over a year following a ban by the ruling Taliban.
The United Nations on Wednesday said Afghanistan under the Taliban government is the “most repressive country in the world” for women’s rights, with authorities effectively trapping women and girls in their homes.
“It has been distressing to witness their methodical, deliberate, and systematic efforts to push Afghan women and girls out of the public sphere,” Roza Otunbayeva, head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, said in a statement marking International Women’s Day.
2.5 million girls out of school
The Taliban has barred girls above the sixth grade from attending schools since they came to power in 2021.
The rulers initially gave a shortage of teachers, lack of school infrastructure for gender segregation and other reasons for the continued closure of schools. Primary schools have been allowed to run.
Some senior Taliban leaders have called for schools to be reopened, saying there was no valid reason in Islam for the ban.
According to UNESCO, currently, 80 percent of school-aged Afghan girls and young women – totalling 2.5 million people – are out of school.
The Taliban’s decision to keep girls’ schools shuttered has reversed significant gains in female education during the past 20 years.