The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has urged the Afghanistan government to lift its ban on women writing university entrance examinations. This latest decree further tightens the sweeping restrictions on girls’ and women’s access to education and public work.
According to Arab News, the ban comes shortly after the OIC executive committee convened on Jan. 11 an extraordinary meeting on the “recent developments and the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.” The final communique of the meeting called on the Afghan authorities to “strive toward reopening schools and universities for girls and enable them to enroll in all levels of education and all specializations required by the Afghan people.”
The OIC urged the Afghan government to reconsider this and other earlier decisions, which it said would have far-reaching social and economic ramifications.
Taliban's* other bans
Last month, the OIC also voiced its concern over the threat to women’s rights in Afghanistan following a decision by the Taliban* leadership to ban women from jobs in national and international nongovernment organizations. In an order issued on Dec. 24, 2022, the Ministry of Economy in Kabul ordered all national and international NGOs to suspend the jobs of female employees until further notice. The decision comes hard on the heels of the ban a few days earlier barring Afghan women and girls from studying at university.
OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha said that this move reflects a willful policy by the de facto leadership to further limit Afghan women’s rights. He said that this “perplexing decision” would not only deprive Afghan women of a source of income for themselves and their families, but also seriously affect humanitarian and relief operations in Afghanistan. Taha also denounced the ban on women studying at university, saying that “it will seriously dent the credibility of the government in place, just as it will deny Afghan girls and women their fundamental rights to education, employment and social justice.”
Vestnik Kavkaza reported earlier that the Taliban* has rolled back 20 years of gains made by the country’s women, who have been squeezed out of many government jobs, barred from travelling alone, and ordered diktats about women’s dresses.
*Taliban is a movement banned in The Russian Federation