Si­lenced, Un­for­tu­nate Afghan Girls

Society Magazine - - Outlook - By Safia Jo Mo­hammed

Ed­u­ca­tion im­parts knowl­edge, skills, val­ues and at­ti­tudes that are im­por­tant for the so­cial, eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal development for any coun­try. And to pro­mote peace through ed­u­ca­tion, girls should be given an op­por­tu­nity to learn and ex­plore their tal­ent. In­deed, we all know that un­til chil­dren, es­pe­cially girls, are ed­u­cated, our so­ci­ety will not change. Sadly, Afghanistan is a coun­try where a great num­ber of women have their wings clipped up by the so­ci­ety.

Ed­u­ca­tion is the an­ti­dote for poverty and war as well as the un­for­tu­nate cir­cum­stances faced by women in Afghanistan. It is not about a sin­gle Afghan girl but many of them and each one as an in­di­vid­ual have come across frus­tra­tion in their lives and, woe­fully, are still going through the same. In­stead of get­ting ed­u­cated, they are forced to get mar­ried at an early age. Even when ed­u­ca­tion is ac­ces­si­ble, it is en­tirely up to par­ents who de­cide whether to send their daugh­ters to school or not.

It is very hard to ac­cept that most par­ents choose to deny their daugh­ters’ right to ed­u­ca­tion. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, the Afghan gov­ern­ment has failed to make par­ents un­der­stand about the im­por­tance of giv­ing proper ed­u­ca­tion to girls. Tra­di­tional so­cial evils like child mar­riage force many girls out of ed­u­ca­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Afghan laws, the min­i­mum age for a girl’s el­i­gi­bil­ity to get mar­ried is 15 with the per­mis­sion of the girl’s fa­ther or a judge. The mis­er­able fact is that the per­mis­sion of the girl, who is to be mar­ried, is not of­ten asked. In­stead, rest of the peo­ple blindly de­cides her fu­ture.

Child mar­riages are deeply harm­ful since it also in­cludes many se­ri­ous health risks due to early child birth which can prove to be fa­tal. Girls who marry as a child are also more likely to be the vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence than women who marry later. Young girls who can barely dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween good and bad are taken as an un­due ad­van­tage. They be­come vic­tims of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and many sorts of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. In the process, they miss out on all the fun and ad­ven­ture of their ‘golden age’.

One thing pre­vent­ing girls gain­ing ed­u­ca­tion is the lack of fa­cil­i­ties be­cause the coun­try has been in the state of civil war for the past 30 years. Al­though more Afghan girls in ur­ban ar­eas have started going to school and are get­ting jobs but sadly, 85 per cent of women in the coun­try are still lack­ing ed­u­ca­tion and so­cial aware­ness and only 20 per cent are em­ployed.

There are many ways to show your sup­port for women em­pow­er­ment in Afghanistan. Ev­ery ac­tion you take makes a dif­fer­ence, whether it’s shar­ing facts about their ed­u­ca­tion with oth­ers or protesting in­di­vid­u­ally. Ed­u­ca­tion for girls and women em­pow­er­ment in Afghan com­mu­nity shall re­main a dream, “if we don’t take the ini­tia­tive”.

SaFIa JO MO­HaMMED

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