Kabul University in Kabul, Afghanistan has recently established the first women and gender studies program in the history of the nation. The two-year degree program not only offers Afghan women a greater opportunity for education, but it also opens the door for research and access to knowledge in gender equity, violence against women, and other social privileges and minorities.
Previously, women and girls had been banned from attending school, but following the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan’s constitution was amended to include the rights of Afghan women, including the right to an education. Though the ruling has been slow to take effect in some social and cultural aspects, there are now over 2.5 million young girls in school in the country.
Created with funding from the Republic of Korea and technical support from UNDP Afghanistan, the program currently has 28 enrolled students, 18 of whom are women. The projected curriculum will cover subjects like legal protection, poverty reduction, conflict resolution, and politics—all with a focus on the importance of the roles of women. It also aims to have graduates exit the program as career specialists, limiting the nation’s need for foreign experts.
Though only time will tell if the program is successful, representatives from the state funded university have already expressed hope that their school can lead by example, and that the program will soon encourage other universities to follow in opening up more opportunities for women and girls to learn and become empowered.
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