The National Examination Authority (NEXA) in Afghanistan announced that only male students can attend the university entrance examination this year. This came from a letter written by the Ministry of Higher Education stating that only male students should be recruited to universities.
This removal of women from society will negatively impact the country, many women worry. Suraya Paikan, a women’s rights activist, expressed her disappointment, “unfortunately, the interim government has failed in this regard and has not been able to reopen the doors of the schools and universities for the girls.”
Female students have urged the de facto authorities to allow women to attend classes. Kubra, a student, said “we call on the Islamic Emirate to respect us as humans, as girls, and reopen the doors of the schools.” Another student, Sahar, added that “we should not be forced to migrate from Afghanistan because of lack of access to education.” Even male students have called for the attendance of women in the university entrance exam. Elham, a male student, explained that the Taliban government should “provide educational opportunities to females, as the girls also have the right to education.”
U.S. special envoy for Afghan women and human rights, Rina Amiri, shared in a tweet, “stand with Afghan girls’ demand to be allowed to take university exams,” noting in particular that “their success will be Afghanistan’s success, leading to food on the table, an improved economy & future.” She added, “the Taliban should put the country and people before their ideology.” As of 2023, six million Afghans are currently on the brink of starvation and 9 in 10 people are living in poverty. Access to education is a fundamental right for everyone, regardless of gender or sex.