Kabul University just launched its first Gender and Women’s studies graduate program, the first of its kind in all of Afghanistan. The two-year program is another important step for Afghan women in achieving equality and increasing opportunity.

According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the mission of this program is “to create a platform for training future advocates of gender equality; generate research on gender, violence against women and underprivileged groups; and raise awareness about men’s and women’s social responsibilities.” The M.A. program, which was designed with UNDP Afghanistan’s technical guidance and financial support from the Republic of South Korea, will also focus on decreasing Afghanistan’s reliance on foreign experts and help the continuing emergence of women as decision makers, leaders of civil society movements, journalists and entrepreneurs.

Twenty-eight students including 18 women and 10 men have enrolled in the first class. Afghan Higher Education Minister Farida Momand said in a statement, “We witness a historic moment at Kabul University as we open a gender and women’s studies program…this program will serve as a model that universities throughout the country can replicate in the future.”

Girls were banned from going to school during the Taliban regime. Today, according to USAID, 2.5 million girls are attending schools. According to recent data there are about 200,000 college students in Afghanistan attending some 70 private and public universities of which approximately one fifth are female students .

Kabul University, which is a public university, has more than 20,000 students from all over the country.

Media Resources: Khaama News 10/18/15; CNN 10/17/15; University Herald 10/18/15; UNDP;

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