“They shot my father right in front of me. It was 9 o’clock at night. They came to our house and told him they had orders to kill him because he allowed me to go to school. The Mujahideen had already stopped me from going to school, but that was not enough. Then they came and killed my father. I cannot describe what they did to me after killing my father.” – A 15-year-old girl, Afghanistan, 1994
This quote is from the year 1994, and if we see the present data presented by the UNICEF, 3.5 million children are out of school in Afghanistan, and 85% of them are girls. According to a UNICEF report, if we move on to the worldwide level, worldwide 132 million girls are out of school.
There are various factors that act as barriers to girl education, such as:
There are various plans and steps taken towards it; for example, in 1995, 189 countries signed Beijing Declaration. The Beijing Declaration aims towards gender equality and mentions, “Literacy of women is an important key to improving health, nutrition and education in the family and empowering women to participate in decision-making in society”.
CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) has been signed and ratified by 187 countries. It was ratified in 1993 in India; it states to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.
Not just Beijing Declaration and CEDAW, different nations have launched their own programmes and movements to eliminate gender-based discrimination and empower women.
The commitments are realistic, but their implementation is not. The world is yet to become a better place for women. Selective abortions are still being practised; a girl child is still devoid of getting an education, girls are still discriminated against, rights of women are still violated.
Education is not a privilege, it is a fundamental right, but women are made feel privileged on getting it. Gender equality is still a figment in this modern world. The government needs to find out the ways of implementing these big commitments.