UN Women, EU Release Gender Country Profile on Afghanistan, Highlighting Unprecedented Oppression Since Taliban Takeover

Afghan women now have little to no influence over decisions impacting their lives, with no women leaders in the Taliban caretaker administration.


Devdiscourse News Desk | Geneva | Updated: 10-06-2024 12:45 IST | Created: 10-06-2024 12:45 IST
UN Women, EU Release Gender Country Profile on Afghanistan, Highlighting Unprecedented Oppression Since Taliban Takeover
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

Women's rights in Afghanistan have long been a matter of intense struggle across different regimes and generations. However, the scale and generational impact of the oppression experienced by Afghan women and girls since August 2021 is unmatched. This critical challenge is detailed in the first Gender Country Profile on Afghanistan, published since the Taliban's return to power, developed by UN Women with financial support from the European Union.

Analysis of Gender Equality Regression

The profile examines the infrastructure for gender equality in Afghanistan over the past 40 years and illustrates how decades of progress have been reversed by over 70 decrees, directives, statements, and systematic practices imposed by the Taliban in less than three years. These measures specifically target the rights, lives, and bodies of Afghan women and girls, severely impacting progress and limiting opportunities across all sectors of development.

Key findings from the profile include:

Only 1% of women feel they have influence in their communities.

8% of respondents know at least one woman or girl who has attempted suicide since August 2021.

18% of women report not meeting with anyone outside their immediate family in the last three months.

The deprivation of women's rights has devastating inter-generational impacts. The profile reveals that 1.1 million girls have been kept out of school, and over 100,000 women have been excluded from university education. This correlates with an increased risk of maternal mortality by at least 50%.

Women's Diminished Influence and Social Isolation

Afghan women now have little to no influence over decisions impacting their lives, with no women leaders in the Taliban caretaker administration. Social isolation has intensified, pushing many women and girls into despair. Nearly 18% of women report not meeting with anyone outside their immediate family, and 8% of respondents know someone who has attempted suicide.

The Resilience and Determination of Afghan Women

Despite these hardships, Afghan women continue to advocate for their rights and serve their communities. "Women want the right to make decisions, not just in their homes but in government and other spaces. They want an education. They want to work. They want their rights," said a 26-year-old Afghan woman who supports UN Women's work on the ground.

Recommendations for Action

The Gender Country Profile calls for specific actions to support Afghan women and girls:

Allocate long-term flexible funding: Provide sustained and adaptable funding to strengthen women's civil society organizations.

Direct funding for gender equality: Ensure that at least 30% of all funding to Afghanistan is dedicated to initiatives explicitly aimed at promoting gender equality and women's rights.

Avoid normalizing discriminatory practices: Implement measures to prevent actions that could unintentionally support or normalize the Taliban's discriminatory policies.

Integrate human rights in all actions: Incorporate human rights, especially women’s rights, as a fundamental aspect in all humanitarian activities and interventions.

The Call for Continued International Support

"Afghan women demonstrate extraordinary resilience. In the face of incredible challenges, women continue to run organizations and businesses and deliver services. We must invest in their resilience. Afghanistan must remain high on the international agenda," said Alison Davidian, UN Women's Special Representative in Afghanistan.

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