A female university student walks in front of a university in Kandahar province on Dec 21, 2022. (STRINGER / AFP)
UNITED NATIONS – UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous on Wednesday called for the restoration of Afghan women's right to higher education after the Taliban-run administration barred them from university.
The Taliban's new order, announced Tuesday, effectively bans women from higher education, she said in a statement. "It is as short-sighted as it is appalling."
Bahous called on the Taliban-run administration to immediately restore the full rights of women and girls, which include the right to education, as well as to work and to participate in public life.
Without education, their pathways to participation and leadership are further constrained, leaving them vulnerable to discrimination and gender-based violence, UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous said
Women have always played a key role in shaping Afghanistan's development, and in supporting its peace, security and resilience, said Bahous, adding that to end women's higher education is to ignore their historical contributions and sever them from their future potential and the potential of their country.
As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated, the denial of education violates the equal rights of women and girls and will have a devastating impact on Afghanistan's future. It condemns the country to further economic hardship, suffering and international isolation, said Bahous.
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Without education, a generation of Afghan women and girls will not have the skills they need to fully contribute to the development of their country. Without education, their pathways to participation and leadership are further constrained, leaving them vulnerable to discrimination and gender-based violence, she added.