Today, Thursday, December 22, 2022, the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue (FDHRD) issues its report, Opportunities for Girls’ Education in Light of the Politicization of Religion. It analyses the extremist movements in Yemen, Afghanistan, Iran and Nigeria that are based on employing religion to serve political purposes, reducing girls’ opportunities to obtain their rights to education. It does so through several axes: – Girls’ right to education. – The importance of education for girls. – The importance of girls’ education for society. – The effects of not educating girls on the family and society. – Obstacles to girls’ education in Yemen. – Girls’ education and the Houthi movement in Yemen. – Girls’ education and the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. – Girls’ education and Iran Girls’ education. – Boko Haram movement in Nigeria. -Recommendations.
The report indicated that states have legal obligations to remove all discriminatory barriers, whether they exist in law or in daily life, and take positive measures to achieve equality, while giving women all their rights, including access to education.
Education also contributes to improving women’s ability to think critically, enabling them to keep pace with successive developments in various fields of life. It also increases their societal role and economic participation in the national economy of the state. Therefore, preventing women from education is equivalent to preventing women from practicing their lives properly. It will also deprive the state itself of their efforts and effective participation, in addition to increasing the burdens, whether social or economic.
Families and societies are affected by girls’ illiteracy and lack of access to education. They represent half of the society and raise the other half. Therefore, clear evidence of it’s the effect of women’s ignorance and illiteracy is related to the fact that they are daughters, sisters, mothers and educators.
The report indicated that Yemeni women in areas controlled by the Houthis are at the mercy of the terrorist Houthi militia. They have made it the harshest region in the world in treating women. Women feels as if they are buried under the soil of Houthi violations and oppression, due to the change in their normal lifestyle as the militia is confiscating the most basic of women’s rights.
Since the “Taliban” movement took control of Kabul, Afghan women have been suffering from absence and the stripping of their rights. Taliban is increasing legal restrictions on women’s freedoms, rights and movements, in application of its extremist ideas. The movement imposed harsh restrictions on women and girls consistent with its strict interpretation of religion. They did not allow them to even complete their secondary education. They also forced female government employees to leave their jobs, as well as preventing women from traveling alone.
Students, in general, face many obstacles in obtaining a quality education in Iran; These hurdles are two or three times as high when it comes to girls and young women.
In conclusion, the report demanded the following:
- Working relentlessly, in all possible forms, to end wars, as well as, internal and external conflicts.
- Seeking to prosecute the perpetrators of war crimes against women all over the world.
- Respecting peoples’ right to self-determination, and implementing international resolutions.
- Monitoring governmental institutions and international institutions to highlight their responsibilities regarding the commitment to guarantee and advance women’s rights in accordance with the signed international agreements.
- Raising awareness about the importance of women’s education.
- Making sure there is free education available for women.
- Solving the problems that stand in the way of women’s education.
- Removing wrong cultural norms and practices.
- Eliminating all forms of violence and conflict.
For his part, Saeed Abdel Hafez, Chairman of the FDHRD, stressed that women still suffer from the extreme examples of fascist societies that prevent them from obtaining the same educational opportunities as their male counterparts. However, you do not need to be a woman in order to realize the importance of women’s education, as women face a variety of challenges, which education can help combat. For example, when women are educated about health issues, they have a better chance of avoiding them.
While Sarah Ibrahim, a researcher at the FDHRD, emphasized the need to liberate religion from the grip of politics, more than the need to prevent the exploitation of religion in politics. No one in history could claim the absolute right to speak in the name of religion. No scholar or intellect was able to unite all people through his interpretation.