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Afghanistan: Fear doesn't keep Afghan girls away from schools

Publication Date: 
September 18, 2012

Gaining an education is still difficult for women in Afghanistan. The greatest opponent is fear. Cases of death threats, poisoning, acid attacks, and bombings by extremists groups, such as the Taliban, still continue. It is enough that any person would want to remain home. Threats from home are also as affective in keeping girls from school. However, there has been a recent change that shows women fighting to get their education. With the 2004 Constitution granting women equal rights, more women have been advocating for their rights. The Constitution also included implementation for equal education.

US photojournalist Lynsey Addario has been taking pictures of women in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. Nine years later, she noticed a noticeable change in women. Under the new government, women are not longer excluded from education. This is shown in the pictures Addario took of women at a graduation ceremony in 2010. The ceremony, which was held under strict security in case of terrorist attacks, signified a great change in Afghanistan. With a full education, women are being givenopportunities to become members of the government or even operate their own businesses.

However, the change in education is not accepted by everyone. 18-year-old Rahmaniya has been determined to get an education for most of her life. Before, she dared not consider school due to her father’s threats of disowning her. After his death, now, her older brother is threatening to kill her if she goes to school.  “He tells me, ‘You go ahead and go to school, and I’ll throw acid on you like the Taliban. I’ll go to the Taliban, and they’ll protect me if I do this in this land of infidels where girls go to school,’” she said.

The Director of the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies, Ehsanullah Ehsan, commented to the NPR that Rahamniya’s case is not that much different from those of the other 800 girls attending his institute. It is through their acts of bravery that these women continued their education, and several hundred of his graduates have gained employment in Kandahar.


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