The legal, social and cultural progress that has been made in the area of women’s rights and status in Afghanistan is irreversible. The principles of equality are enshrined in the country’s constitution and embraced by a majority of citizens. Where women were once shut out of the workforce, they now occupy high government posts and work as police officers, judges, business owners, scientists and more. Where women once had little legal recourse when their husbands abused them, there are new protections and avenues of justice for them and stiffer punishments for their assailants. Where women were once barred from taking out loans or owning property in their own names, they have the right to do both. And where women once had no options in life except marriage and childbirth, they now fill Afghanistan’s universities and technical training schools.
Microfinance training program assists young Afghan women enter financial sector: http://wadsam.com/afghan-business-news/microfinance-training-program-assists-young-afghan-women-enter-financial-sector-232/
'Girls aren't less than boys': Kabul's female veterinarians hope to cure inequality, The Guardian, September 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/sep/18/afghanistan-team-female-veterinarians-hope-to-cure-inequality-kabul
Promoting Gender Equity in Afghanistan’s National Priority Programs:https://www.usaid.gov/news-information/fact-sheets/promoting-gender-equity-national-priority-programs
Afghanistan’s National Priority Plan on Women’s Economic Empowerment http://wadsam.com/afghan-business-news/afghanistans-national-priority-plan-womens-economic-empowerment-232/
Inside Zan TV: Afghanistan’s first all-female station Grace Banks, The Guardian, August 2017 https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/07/inside-zan-tv-afghanistans-first-all-female-station
Afghanistan Women’s Advancement: Progress Report https://feminist.org/blog/index.php/2016/12/20/afghanistan-womens-advancement-progress-report/
What Factors Drive Support for Women’s Rightsin Afghanistan? http://asiafoundation.org/2017/05/17/factors-drive-support-womens-rights-afghanistan/
“We live in an interconnected world, and you cannot prevent people from leaving. What you need to do is to create opportunities. At the same time, people are also coming back.”— Ashraf Ghani
Afghanistan has one of the largest youth bulges in the world, with a median age of 18 years old and approximately 68 percent of the population under the age of 25 years old.
These young people represent a large cross-section of Afghanistan’s society and it is often said that Afghanistan’s peace and future security relies on the ability of the youth to be an integral part of the development and reform agenda and finding productive roles in society.
Young people in Afghanistan face significant challenges related to insecurity, education, employment, gender inequality and literacy. In addition, around 400,000 young people enter Afghanistan’s labor force every year. The combination of insecurity and high unemployment put the youth of Afghanistan in a vulnerable position. According to a 2015 USIP report, “in Afghanistan, youth participation in violence has grown dramatically…as political and religious groups [take] advantage of vulnerable youth to advance political and religious ideologies” while noting that no national or international strategies have been designed to respond in a holistic manner.
Three decades of conflict devastated Afghanistan’s education systems and institutions. In 2002, an estimated 900,000 boys attended school, while women and girls were almost completely excluded from educational opportunities.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani launched the National Employment Programme in November 2015 to create thousands of Afghan job opportunities. The government, as part of its reform agenda, (SEE MORE TOPICS REFORM) is also investing in vocational education, engineering, managerial skills, the service industry, and in reforms to make Afghan labor more responsive.
The Afghan government, in collaboration with international organizations, has been slowly rebuilding Afghanistan’s education sector. Educational reforms focus on improving the quality of post-secondary institutions using an outcomes- based education model, including restructuring curriculum, assessment and reporting practices in education to ensure quality of learning. More than 16,000 new schools have been built; 154,000 teachers recruited and trained; and the increased net enrollment rate for school-aged children is close to 60%. Today more than 9 million students are enrolled in schools, 40 percent of whom are girls. Read more on this topic in the education section here.
In addition to government efforts to address the challenges facing the youth, there are many nonprofits, international and local organizations that have created programs to support youth development and engagement (see links below to some of these organizations). Local communities are also actively addressing youth issues by implementing strategies committed to providing for the most vulnerable youth. One example is the Watan Pala Zwanan community that is bringing together youth from different sectors and communities in activities that provide opportunities and help achieve stability in Eastern Afghanistan through popular engagement. Read more on this in the community spotlight of Watan Pala Zwanan.)
Young Activists Network for Reform and Change: http://reformandchange.org
Youth for Change Afghanistan Organization: http://www.nayd.org/ycao.htm
Youth For Change and Development: http://www.y4change.org/