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Empowering Girls in Conflict Zones: Defying the Odds for Education and Equality

Let's talk about a harsh reality that millions of girl’s worldwide face especially in Afghanistan. You see when conflicts and calamities hit, the devastation they bring is often a primary goal. Discrimination against girls is fueled by disempowerment, creating a daunting challenge. These girls encounter significant barriers to getting an education in conflict areas. It's a sad truth.


Armed conflict doesn't just affect the physical landscape; it also wreaks havoc on the educational opportunities of these young girls, impacting their ability to go to school and their overall well-being. In places hit by armed conflict or natural disasters, an astonishing 39 million girls and teenagers are left without access to quality education (Rodriguez). When you compare it to immigrant boys, refugee girls are only half as likely to attend school. In South Sudan, 72% of primary school-aged girls and 64% of boys in the same age group miss out on school (Rodriguez). Similarly, in Afghanistan, a whopping 70% of the 3.5 million kids who aren't in school are girls. That's a massive number.

When the Taliban leaders were in control, they banned many things, including education for girls, television, music and cinema. Men were made to grow beards and women had to wear burkas.

When the Taliban took power in August 2021, they announced that education for both boys and girls beyond the 6th grade would be suspended, but would resume after the Afghan new year. In March 23, 2022. The Taliban said that it needed time to revise the school curriculum so that it would better reflect Islamic values, and so that a female curriculum and school uniforms for women could be developed. The Taliban also ruled that only women could teach women’s classes in high schools and universities. It also announced that university courses could be coed, but that there would need to be a physical partition between the female and male students.


But here's the twist – these girls are showing remarkable resilience in the face of adversity.

In these conflict-affected communities, cultural traditions run deep, and they often favor boys' education over girls'. It's this age-old belief that investing in girls' education is somehow less valuable, a stereotype that depicts them as future homemakers. This gender bias is deeply rooted and systemic, restricting girls' access to quality education (Yount et al., 2018). When comparing this situation, it is evident that in Pakistan, numerous families restrict girls from pursuing education outside their hometown. I encountered This personal challenge when striving to continue my studies at LUMS.

It is challenging for girls in war zones to catch a break and go to a safe school. Why, you ask? Well, schools there are often in terrible shape or wholly wrecked in the worst cases. Furthermore, you cannot blame families for being worried sick about sending their girls to school. They're scared that violence or military strikes might happen at any moment. This fear keeps girls from getting the same shot at education. It's a challenging situation, no doubt about it.


The situation for women in Afghanistan is super challenging, all thanks to the Taliban. Ever since these guys regained control, they've come up with some pretty strict policies that seriously affect girls' education. One significant bummer move they pulled was banning teenage girls from going to school beyond the sixth grade. I mean, seriously? They think women should either be stuck at home or just disappear. It's a bleak outlook they've got going on.

Taliban was all like, "No school for you, girls!" They slapped a big fat ban on girls' education, effectively shutting the door on their learning journey. It's like they wanted to keep them in the dark ages. They also restrict the women's movement. Picture this: Women and girls couldn't leave their homes without a male chaperone. That's right, no solo trips to school or anywhere else. It was like living in a real-life version of "Groundhog Day," without Bill Murray's charm. The Taliban insisted on this whole-body covering deal, known as the burqa. Girls and women had to wear it everywhere, making it tricky to get around and even more challenging to read the books. Who wants to study in a tent-like outfit, anyway? Yes, it's okay if someone is wearing an abaya of her own will, but why are they forcing them?

Despite these immense challenges, there are glimmers of hope. Several local and international organizations are working tirelessly to provide girls in Afghanistan with access to education. These initiatives offer scholarships, build safe schools, and work with communities to challenge stereotypes and encourage families to send their daughters to school.

Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel laureate, once said: "Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world."


We couldn't agree more. The journey to educate girls in conflict zones takes a lot of work. Still, the resilience and determination of these young students are truly inspiring. Their pursuit of knowledge and a better future is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

So, the next time you hear about the challenges girls face in conflict zones like Afghanistan, remember that people and organizations are working tirelessly to bring education to these brave young minds. And maybe you'll be inspired to join this movement for change.




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10 Kommentare


It's a very nicely written blog, and I can honestly feel your helplessness for those girls in Afghanistan. Also, loved some of the analogies you used.


It's an open secret that many Talib leaders educated their girls abroad during their 20-year-long fight with the US forces. As of now, they have been secretly sending their daughters to Pakistan and Qatar for education. There are reports of some Taliban funding a small school in Kabul to teach the kids of 4-5 close families. Another report was made where a Taliban official's wife, on an official visit, apologized for keeping her visit short. She had to prepare her daughters for their flight to Doha (Qatar), where they will start their new term…


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Shamsa Kanwal
Shamsa Kanwal
01. Dez. 2023
Antwort an

The revelation that some Taliban leaders are reportedly sending their daughters abroad for education introduces a layer of contradiction within the group's stance on girls' education. This apparent hypocrisy suggests internal divisions within the Taliban, with individual leaders possibly harboring differing views on the matter. While it could be interpreted as a glimmer of hope, indicating the potential for evolving perspectives within the organization, caution is warranted. The secretive nature of these actions and the broader context of strict policies against girls' education underscore the complex challenges. International pressure and awareness campaigns may leverage these contradictions to advocate for a more inclusive approach, but the true extent of change within the Taliban remains uncertain.

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I think you made an excellent point here. The situation you've described bears resonance with the experience of girls in Yemen as well. cultural norms and gender biases play a significant role in limiting girls' access to education in Yemen during times of conflict. the restrictive policies imposed by armed groups, such as the limitations of age at which girls can attend schools, echo the struggles faced by the girls in Afghanistan.

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Shamsa Kanwal
Shamsa Kanwal
01. Dez. 2023
Antwort an

Thank you for your thoughtful input, and I appreciate your acknowledgment of the parallels with the challenges faced by girls in Yemen. It's disheartening to witness how cultural norms and gender biases can exacerbate the obstacles to education, especially during times of conflict. The restrictive policies imposed by armed groups, reminiscent of the struggles in Afghanistan, further underscore the urgent need for addressing systemic barriers that impede girls' access to education in various regions. By recognizing and actively challenging these cultural and gender-based limitations, we can work towards fostering inclusive educational environments that empower girls to pursue their academic aspirations despite the challenging circumstances they may face.

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"These girls are showing remarkable resilience in the face of adversity." This statement is indeed a fact and I could not agree more. Despite deeply ingrained bias favoring boys' education over girls' the Afghani girls demonstrate sheer mental strength and do not let these challenges psychologically get to them. If it weren't for their commitment and desire to seek education, local and international organizations would not be interested in restoring education and working tirelessly for improvement. I think the very motivation comes from the resilience that the Aghani girls portray and I hope and pray that they continue to fight these challenges and not let the Talibans get the best of them.

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Shamsa Kanwal
Shamsa Kanwal
01. Dez. 2023
Antwort an

The recognition of their mental strength and commitment to education, despite deeply ingrained biases favoring boys, is a crucial perspective that often goes unnoticed. Your emphasis on the role of this resilience in garnering attention from local and international organizations sheds light on the transformative power these young students hold. However, while your optimism and encouragement are admirable, it's essential to delve deeper into the systemic issues that perpetuate these challenges. The mention of the Taliban's influence is a stark reminder of the oppressive conditions these girls navigate. A more in-depth analysis of the root causes and potential solutions could enhance the overall impact of your commentary. Additionally, while your hope and prayer for the girls to continue their fight…

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Thank you for sharing this, Shamsa.

I totally get your point. It is heartbreaking to see what young girls are going through in Afghanistan because of the Taliban’s restrictions on girls education. These girls deserve education, but the Taliban have made access to education even harder for them. As you mentioned, young girls are showing resilience against the atrocities committed by the Taliban when it comes to education, but can you tell me how these young girls have shown resilience against the Taliban? In class discussions and presentations, we have also talked a lot about how girls education is affected in Afghanistan because of the Taliban and how they don’t want girls to get educated. And it is just saddening…

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Shamsa Kanwal
Shamsa Kanwal
18. Nov. 2023
Antwort an

Answering to your first question so The resilience of these young girls in the face of Taliban-imposed restrictions on education is truly commendable. Despite facing numerous challenges and oppressive policies, they have demonstrated resilience by seeking alternative ways to access education. Some have turned to underground schools or home-based learning, defying the Taliban's attempts to keep them away from educational opportunities. In some instances, families and communities have played a crucial role by supporting and encouraging girls to pursue education, even in the face of adversity. This determination to learn in the midst of such challenging circumstances showcases the strength and courage of these young students.

Answering to your second question of organizations ; Several organizations have been actively working…

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Fiza Jaffer
Fiza Jaffer
10. Nov. 2023

As we saw in Dana Burde's talk in class, it's not like people in Afghanistan don't want their daughters to go to school. It is only the cultural pressures that restrict women's access to quality education. And Shamsa, you are definitely right that there are several glimmers of hope. A lot of progress has been in made in Afghanistan over the years. One of our readings for class, "HOME-BASED SCHOOLING: ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION FOR AFGHAN GIRLS" discusses the idea of home-based schooling program. The program involves training and supporting home-based teachers who teach girls in their homes. While the program faces challenges in terms of sustainability and integration into the national education system, it has shown success in providing…

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Shamsa Kanwal
Shamsa Kanwal
10. Nov. 2023
Antwort an

Fiza, I totally agree with your point, they want their daughter's to go to school as we also read this in one of our readings but because of Taliban fear and other factors parents don't send their daughter's to school. It's great that you've highlighted the importance of initiatives like the home-based schooling program in Afghanistan. These programs are crucial in overcoming cultural barriers and providing girls with access to education that aligns with local customs.

The collaboration between international NGOs and local initiatives is a critical factor in the success of such programs. The support from these organizations not only provides resources but also helps in building a sustainable and integrated educational system. As you mentioned Fiza, the IRC…


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