Sixteen years after the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan ousted the Taliban, an estimated two-thirds of Afghan girls do not attend school. The aim of getting all girls into school was never fully realised, and the proportion of students who are girls is even falling in some parts of the country. The vast majority of the millions of Afghan children not in school are girls, and only 37 percent of adolescent girls are literate, compared to 66 percent of adolescent boys.
'I won’t be a doctor, and one day you’ll be sick: Girls’ access to education in Afghanistan' is based on 249 interviews in Kabul, Kandahar, Balkh, and Nangarhar provinces, most with girls who were kept from completing their education.
The report describes how, as security in the country worsens and international donors disengage, progress made toward getting girls into school is at risk. Afghanistan’s government provides fewer schools for girls than boys. Many children live far from a school so are not able to attend, which particularly affects girls. About 41 percent of schools have no buildings, and many lack boundary walls, water and toilets—disproportionately affecting girls. Girls are kept home due to gender norms that do notvalue or permit their education, or due to security concerns. A third of girls marry before age 18, and forces many girls out of school.
The report calls on the Afghan government, and its international donors, to increase girls’ access to education through protecting schools and students, institutionalising and expanding models that help girls study, and taking concrete steps to meet the government’s obligation to provide universal free and compulsory primary education.