With the reemergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the threat to women’s rights in the region is as dire as ever. While in interviews and other media, Taliban representatives promised to maintain education and opportunity in the lives of Afghani women, in practice, the results were contradictory. Local commanders would frequently shut down schools, including those educating primary-aged girls. Punishments for women included, and continue to have, stoning, lashing, amputation, and confinements to their homes unless a male relative can accompany them. A recent article recounted an event during which a Taliban-appointed Chancellor barred women from both teaching and attending Kabul University; the third-highest ranked educational facility in the country (Times of Oman, 2021). The Taliban claimed that the university was not keeping in line with expected standards of Islam, though they were merely monopolizing the way that Islam is practiced and implemented.
Afghanistan rates poorly according to the Gender Empowerment Index, with an HDI value of 0.391 value for women and an overall inequality value of 0.659 in 2019 (UN DP, 2020). A GEI value that is closer to zero indicates increased equality, while a larger sum defines more inequality. In contrast, Norway, a nation ranked with having the most gender equality, has a GEI value of only 0.025. Evidence of this can be observed in real-life incidences and statistics of crimes and discrimination against women. Women have lower income than men, are employed less despite similar skills, comprise a very small portion of political positions, experience fewer educational opportunities and lower literacy rates, have a high chance of experiencing sexual or physical abuse, and are often in danger of violence or even death.
Times of Oman. (2021). Taliban-appointed Chancellor bars women from teaching, attending Kabul University. Times of Oman. Web.
UN DP. (2020). Human Development Report 2020: Afghanistan. Web.