Afghanistan is one of the toughest regions for women to survive. Although the country has a highest number of school-going populations, gender disparities in education remain high. Women discrimination in the education system is a pervasive practice, which the political systems have not considered it seriously. Many girls opt to attend to their domestic duties because of the fear they have about insurgents and other group, which usually attack them in various learning institutions. Compared to boys, the societal norms and practices do not favor the girl because they hold “minor roles” in the building of the society and culture.
What are the reasons of gender discrimination in the education in Afghanistan?
During the Taliban rule, women oppression and denial to access education has been evident by several attacks insurgent have orchestrated in schools. It is good to note that, this political system exercised male dominance and hegemonic practices against the women because of their position in the society. Socio-cultural norms and practices within the Afghans contribute largely to the discriminative way of sharing resources like education in the community. At the primary school level, the literacy level of girls for aged 15-24 stands at 18%, while the literacy level for bay at the same age bracket remains at 50%. More than half the boys have a chance of completing education compared to girls (Brodsky, Portnoy, Scheibler, & Carrilo, 2012). Cultural practices and traditions encouraged boys to further their studies because of the leadership positions they occupied in the society.
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According to a report filed by the Human Rights Commission in Afghanistan, parents elucidate that major challenges affecting their daughters is insecurity and accessibility of education. Others stated that a girl child ought to attend to domestic duties, engage in productive activities to enable her family earn a living and children marriages (Whitsel & Mehran, 2010 p. 504). The Islamic the Islamic rule under the Taliban government did not allow women in public areas. For this reason, other girls opt to remain indoors for fear of execution of assault by law enforcers. This situation influenced the way girls attended schools as opposed to boys who had the time to acquire knowledge.
Factors contributing to gender discrimination in education in Afghanistan
The Brutal Taliban Rule
The Taliban became prominent in 1994 after they took power and ruled the Afghanistan in a dictatorial way. The group targeted women in such a way that many succumbed to health complications, others lost their lives, and the majority lacked the power to acquire knowledge at institutions of learning. Since most of the schools in Afghanistan are gender-segregated, the insurgent group conducted several attacks on girls in order to deprive them from acquiring basic education. It was a rule that girls ought to stay away from public places; the school was a public place where they socialized. According to the Taliban rule, oppressing women was a show of winning despite losing the victory at the battlefields. In Takhar province, the Taliban group poisoned 40 girls student, some of which succumbed to severe health complication (Facar, 2006 p. 31). This group burnt girls’ schools because they wanted to get rid of the enlightened generation of women, which could challenge their political ideologies and power.
Before the Taliban assumed power, Afghanistan was a peaceful place, which ensured equality between boys and girls with regard to knowledge acquisition. Thereafter, when the Taliban ruled, they perpetrated egregious acts of violence against young girls. Such actions induced fear in girls who were at learning institutions because they knew anytime they face attackers (Spink, 2005 p. 197). In a certain incidence, In Tukhar province insurgents attached a girl’s school at night, raped students, assaulted and kidnapped others. For this reason, many abandoned learning as they moved to Iran and Pakistan for refuge. In 1999, Talibans jailed and deported a female worker who was helping Afghanistan women in engaging in home-based work. In Kabul, female teachers lost their jobs, a move that crippled learning in some institutions. Since these teachers attended mainly elementary classes in girls’ schools, children missed fundamental of education making some to record poor marks in examinations. The Taliban also restricted female from enrolling at the Kabul University. The rationale behind it was the facility was full to capacity and that women should wait for the government to construct another facility.
Society norms and practices
According to norms and practices of the Afghans, women had no authority over certain traditional practices like marriage. In the video, it was stated that many parents married off their young daughters without their consent because the parents wanted to raise resources, which could sustain the rest of the family (men). Following this initiative, many girls were pulled out of schools or deprived the right to education because they will get married. Some families forced their girl children to stay indoors because they were afraid of fines and penalties, which societal leaders could charge upon exposing their siblings. Brodsky, Portnoy, Scheibler & Carrilo, (2012) asserts that the culture has a requirement, which states that girls should not compete with men in any way; going to school as boys do was a form of competition, which the society did not allow. Moreover, culture also required that girls and boys should be segregated in any gathering or event. This doctrine was also exercised at government institutions, which had a mandate of building schools and allocating other resources. Such an environment does not promote healthy competition during learning. There is a possibility that girls will perform poorly. In the Video, Parish Will of World Edition state that, the society has had a perception that girls should only acquire basic primary education, which sometimes is not essential. With this in mind, many parents had not until recently realized the importance of supporting their daughters education.
How working knowledge influenced topic selection
In my relationship with female colleagues, i interviewed a few who stated that the major problem, which they face in their pursuit of education, was discrimination and oppression from men. Many asserted that male dominated societies could not favor them or support their educational needs. Apart from that, I noted that the number of female teachers and other workers at various places of work was low. I wanted to establish the rationale behind the situation. I considered that the topic was important for research because I wanted to explore the problem and establish some of the problems, which have led to the situation.
Misunderstandings about the topic
During the time women were oppressed and discriminated, I do not understand the reason why insurgent and the Taliban targeted women. The explanation given does not give a clear reason for the brutal activities women went through. I consider that Afghanistan men could have been target of Taliban because they can challenge their rule of law. The Islamic rules and practices have given women an equal opportunity as men to pursue various sectors and acquire knowledge in order to develop the society. The Taliban were also Islam, but did not adhere to this requirement. There has been no evidence showing or explaining why women were denied the right of education.
Indeed women in Afghanistan were denied the right of education. The Taliban used their authority to oppress and deprive women from learning because they wanted to eliminate the likelihood of having enlightened future leaders, who could challenge some of their political ideologies. Although the society still holds that women should remain passive to societal practices and activities, I will carry out sensitization campaigns, which will enlighten women and teach some fundamental rights that they need to demand from the authority. In addition, religious leaders will also be used in teaching the society against the practices, which discriminate against the women.
Annotated Reference list
Brodsky, A., Portnoy, G., Scheibler, J., & Carrilo, A. (2012). Beyond (ABC’s) Education, community and feminism in Afghanistan. Journal of Community Psychology, 40(1), 159-181.
This journal highlights how Socio-cultural norms and practices within the Afghans has contributed in the oppressive way through which resources and services like education have been shared in the community. The author cites evidence stating that, at the primary school level, the literacy level of girls for aged 15-24 stands at 18%, while the literacy level for bay at the same age bracket remains at 50%. More than half the boys have a chance of completing education compared to girls.
Facar, M. (2006). The pendulum of gender politics in Afghanistan. Central Asia Survey, 25(1), 27-59.
This source gives a historical perspective of how the Afghanistan society lived during the time before and after the Taliban. The author observes that because most of the schools in Afghanistan are gender-segregated, the insurgent groups have always conducted several attacks on girls in order to restrict them from acquiring basic education. It was a rule that girls ought to stay away from public places; the school was a public place where they socialized. The author adds that oppressing women was a show of winning despite losing the victory at the battlefields. He cites an example in Takhar province, where Taliban group poisoned 40 girls student, some of which succumbed to severe health complication
Spink, J. (2005). Education and politics in Afghanistan: the importance of an education system in peace building and reconstruction. Journal of Peace Education, 2(2), 195-207.
In this source, the author gives the picture of the situation after the Taliban assumed power. He explains and demonstrates how women underwent difficult situations in their pursuit of education. He observes that men were favored unlike women who suffered perpetration and egregious acts of violence from the insurgents.
Whitsel, C., & Mehran, W. (2010). School, work and community-level differences in Afghanistan and Tajikistan: divergence in secondary school enrolment of youth. Central Asia Survey, 29(4), 501-519.
In this source the author, identify various problems that lead to the low number of women registration in secondary schools. He observes that traditional norms and practices also deprived women from accessing education by forcing them to stay at home while boys went to school.
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