UN agencies recommitment to women, girls in Afghanistan one year after Taliban takeover |

“It was a year of increasing disrespect for their right to live freely and equallydenying them opportunities for livelihoods, access to health care and education, and escape from violent situations,” speak Sima Bahous, Managing Director at UN Women.

Ms Bahous outlined how the Taliban’s “meticulously crafted unequal policies” set Afghanistan apart from the rest of the international community, wiping out decades of progress on gender equality. and women’s rights in just a few months.

‘Horrible act of self-destruction’

Afghanistan is only country in the world where girls are barred from high school and banned from politics, as the Taliban have an all-male cabinet and no Women’s Ministry.

Most Afghan women are currently restricted from working outside of the home, they have to cover their faces in public and must be accompanied by men when traveling. Furthermore, they continue to suffer many forms of gender-based violence.

“Here Intentionally applying discriminatory measures against Afghan women and girls is also a terrible act of self-destruction for a country going through enormous challenges.from climate- and natural-related disasters to exposure to global economic headwinds that have plunged some 25 million Afghans into poverty and many go hungry,” she said.

Afghanistan is still under the control of a profound economic and humanitarian crisisas head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Natalia Kanem, points out.

Live in risk

Soaring food and fuel prices – made worse by drought and war in Ukraine – mean 95% of the populationand nearly all households headed by women, do not enough to eat.

Miss Kanem speak Keeping girls out of secondary school not only violates their right to education and prevents them from reaching their full potential, but also putting them at greater risk of early marriage, early pregnancy, violence and abuse.

“The breakdown of the health system has affected women and girls’ access to reproductive health services, including maternal health care, especially for more than nine million people live in remote areas of the country. For the roughly 24,000 women who give birth each month in hard-to-reach areas, giving birth can, in fact, be a death sentence,” she speaks.

Economic cost

Afghanistan was struggling with education even before the Taliban took over last August, as more than four million children were out of school, 60% of them girls.

It’s okay to ban girls from going to high school a monetary costAccording to a new analysis by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It shows the country losing 2.5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually because of this decision.

UNICEF says Afghanistan’s economy will earn at least $5.4 billion if the current cohort of three million girls must complete lower secondary school and enter the workforce.

Women and children are the most affected by the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

UNAMA / Shamsuddin Hamedi

Women and children are the most affected by the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Real potential is denied

The estimates do not take into account the non-financial effects of girls’ denial of access to education, including future shortages of female teachers, doctors and nurses, as well as increased medical costs. health related to teenage pregnancy.

The broader benefits of education are also excluded, such as general education levels, reduced child marriage and reduced infant mortality.

Analysis indicates that Afghanistan will not be able to regain GDP lost in the transition and achieve true potential productivity. failure to exercise girls’ rights to access and complete lower secondary education.

“The decision on March 23 to not allow girls to return to high school is shocking and deeply disappointing”, said Dr. Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan.

“UNICEF wants to see every girl and boy across Afghanistan go to school and learn,” he added. “We will not stop advocating until that goal is achieved. Education is not only a right for every child, but it is the foundation for future development in Afghanistan.”

Women, peace and development

The United Nations has repeatedly emphasized its commitment to continue its support in Afghanistan and support the women and girls there.

Ms. Bahous, head of UN Women, emphasized how The exclusion of women from all aspects of life robs half of the population’s talent and energy.

She urges in fact the government opened schools for all girls, removed constraints on women’s employment and political participation, and repealed all decisions and policies that disenfranchised women.

“Without the full participation of women and girls in all aspects of public life, little chance of achieving lasting peace, stability and economic development,” she declared.

Meanwhile, her agency is scaling up its offering of life-saving services “for women, by women” to meet overwhelming demand, while supporting women-led businesses and job opportunities across all sectors.

“A year on, with women’s visibility declining and rights severely impacted, it is important to direct targeted, substantial and systematic funding to address and reverse this situation and to facilitate meaningful participation of women in all stakeholders involved in Afghanistan, including in delegations meeting with Taliban officials,” she said.

Women in the waiting room of a clinic in Afghanistan.

© UNICEF / Alessio Romenzi

Women in the waiting room of a clinic in Afghanistan.

Increase activity

UNFPA has increased its presence across Afghanistan and is working with national partners to scale up delivery of sexual and reproductive health services – again, for women, for women women – even in remote areas.

Agency achieves more than 4.3 million people in the past year and distributed essential medicines and supplies to hospitals, as well as menstrual hygiene supplies to countless women and girls.

Ms. Kanem added that as winter arrives amid increased demand, UNFPA has provided cooking utensils and blankets to the desperate, and is ready to do more.

“As the world faces many overlapping crises, we must not forget the women and girls of Afghanistan. When the basic rights of women and girls are denied, we all reduce,” she speaks.

“We must work together, united in the common and unwavering belief that there can be no lasting peace, recovery or stability for Afghanistan unless the basic human rights of women and girls are upheld. education, participation in public life and access to services vital to their health, dignity and well-being, respect and protection”.

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