A new study released by UNICEF reports that by depriving girls of higher education, Afghanistan’s economy is at a loss of US$500 million in the last 12 months. The new analysis by UNICEF says that Afghanistan might suffer a loss of 2.5% of its annual GDP.
The total population of girls in Afghanistan is estimated to be 3 million. The addition of these 3 million girls in the workforce will help in boosting the afghan economy and contribute around $5.4 billion to its GDP.
While the financial aspect of the situation is outlined well enough, UNICEF’s estimates fail to consider the social-economical aspects such as the future shortage of female doctors, teachers, STEM professionals, and nurses.
The situation in Afghanistan has cost in the decline in attendance of girls in primary schools while there is a rise in the number of adolescent pregnancies in a healthcare-compromised country.
The estimates also overlook the benefits of education that Afghanistan is going to miss out on like the reduced child marriages, overall literacy rate, and reduced infant mortality.
The analysis also highlights that Afghanistan will be unable to recover from the GDP loss it could suffer during this phase of its growth and girls’ right to participate in higher secondary education could be left out of Afghanistan’s productivity for the foreseeable future.
Afghan Representative criticizes afghan’s conservation rules
Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Afghanistan representative heavily criticized the decision taken on March 23 by Afghan leaders.
Ayoya says that depriving girls of education not only violates women’s fundamental right to education but also will pose a greater risk for overexploitation of girls, increased cases of child trafficking, domestic abuse, and forced marriage.
He also points out that the new analysis brings out the economic impact of this terrible decision to light.
Ayoya makes it clear that UNICEF stands against the Taliban’s decision and will not stop advocating to see every boy and girl in school as education is the right of every child and also the foundation of Afghanistan’s development.
Afghanistan’s struggles with education
Even before the unfortunate occurrence of the Taliban capture of Afghanistan, there were at least 4.2 million children out of school and an alarming 60% of them were girls.
Interestingly, not educating both boys and girls would impact heavily on a family’s earnings, there is a social aspect that adds to depriving girls of education. It is known that the better-educated girls, the more independent they become.
Their participation in the job market delays prospective marriage and childbearing. The more choices women can make, the better quality of life they can provide for their families or their children later in life.
UNICEF struggles in Afghanistan
Along with education issues, UNICEF is also unable to reach out to adolescent afghan girls to support them such as menstrual hygiene and health.
Afghanistan also has a problem of child malnutrition. The cases are rising alarmingly, the numbers have gone up from 30,000 in June 2020 to a staggering 60,000 in June 2022. This is a 90% increase.
Children are being sent to work instead of school.
Ayoya says that UNICEF is currently trying its best to support the children in Afghanistan. Girls’ rights are currently compromised in Afghanistan, and several young children are deprived of basic needs.
Despite these challenges, UNICEF is trying to scale up, deliver and achieve results in Afghanistan like never before.
Fortunately, in the last 12 months, at least 273,000 teenage girls were reached out by health services and provided with iron and folic supplements.
Hopefully, afghan children are empowered and raised out of deprivation soon. That hope also depends on the people of the country who will willingly fight for their fundamental rights like education, employment and other human rights. The situation in Afghanistan currently is tough but to break through the shell of Taliban, Afghans need to unite with each other and demand for a righteous government instead of a tyrant.