Under the Taliban, women once were forced to the edges of society, rarely seen or heard, and given no privileges or rights. But now the National Unity Government has been working to build Afghanistan’s first-ever women-only university.
In a press conference on Wednesday, the first lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani announced the university will be established in Kabul in the near future.
"Building a university for girls is one of the promises of Mr. Ghani that he vowed during presidential campaigns and now we are on the eve of its implementation," Ghani said. "Those girls that are not allowed to study at other universities can continue their higher education in this university."
During the conference which was also attended by civil society activists, female students and cabinet members, including Higher Education Minister Farida Mohmand, the first lady said building a university where women students can get education without restrictions was one of the promises made by President Ashraf Ghani during his campaign, which is now on its way to being fulfilled.
Farida Mohmand also added that the university, which the NUG is considering naming Mawlana Afghan-Turk University, will be built on 47 acres of land in Tapa-e-Maranjan with the joint efforts of the Turkish government. However she did not release the date the university will be inaugurated.
Nasrin Oryakhel, the minister for labor and social affairs, said her department will provide employment opportunities for girls who graduate from the institution.
"As the minister of labor and social affairs we are committed to providing jobs, training and entrepreneurship opportunities for graduates of the university," she said during the conference.
Mark English, the chancellor of the American University in Afghanistan also hailed the decision and offered his support for the cause.
"The American University always supports anything that is going to advance the education for women in Afghanistan," he proclaimed. “We are willing to give all of our support in terms of helping develop programs, and helping to increase their resources so that we can get this initiative started."
This project is considered as a significant step towards promoting higher education in women in the conservative nation and has been marked by the website From Words To Action, responsible for tracking the progress of President Ghani’s pre-election and post election commitments.
In a country where 46 percent of girls get married below the age of 18 and only 12 percent of the female population is literate, this education initiative serves as a milestone for overcoming key barriers that prevent the women of Afghanistan from standing on their own two feet.