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Afghanistan: Classrooms Segregated By Gender Under Taliban Rule

by : Hannah Smith on : 07 Sep 2021 11:04
Afghanistan: Classrooms Segregated By Gender Under Taliban Rule@AyazGul64/Twitter

Women have been allowed to resume university studies in Afghanistan, however it’s been reported that the Taliban has implemented strict new measures to enforce gender segregation.

Images taken by journalists allowed into Kabul’s Ibn-e Sina University show male and female students sat in the same room but separated by a curtain during the first day of the new term, with the female students required to wear the abaya robe and niqab covering and enter via a separate entrance to male students.

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According to guidance published by the Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education, female students are also set to remain in ‘waiting rooms’ between classes so as not to encounter male students.

The Times reports that the guidance also sets out that female students must only be taught by female teachers, although ‘old men teachers who have a good record of behaviour’ may also teach if a female teacher is not available.

Private universities reopened in Afghanistan this week, less than one month after the Taliban took control of the country, and a week after the final international forces left Kabul’s airport.

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However, while the decision to allow women to attend university is being used by the Taliban as an example of its new ‘modern’ approach to governing, human rights campaigners in the region said that there are concerns that women may be facing restrictions elsewhere.

Female protestors in Afghanistan (PA Images)PA Images

In a Twitter thread, Shaharzad Akbar, chairperson of the Afghanistan International Human Rights Commission, said she had received reports that the Taliban was only letting women in ‘health, education & some relief organizations’ attend work, and required them to be accompanied by a ‘male family member’.

‘Women defenders, journalists, prosecutors & judges, local government officials live with fear & uncertainty, many anxious about what the next days/weeks hold as they watch the erasure of women from public & steps for formation of a new, male-led & dominated ‘government,” she tweeted.

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The Times reports that local journalists have witnessed several incidents of violence against women by Taliban soldiers, including a group of women’s rights protestors who were tear gassed and tasered, and an eight-month pregnant woman who was ‘killed in front of her family’ for taking down a Taliban flag.

If you’d like to help those who’ve been affected by the recent devastating events unfolding in Afghanistan, you can make a donation to the UN Refugee Agency United Kingdom here.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: News, Afghanistan, Education, Taliban, University, women's rights

Credits

The Times
  1. The Times

    Taliban instruct female Afghan students to cover their faces