KABUL: The first batch of women studies graduates in Afghanistan received their degrees at Kabul University on Sunday.
Kabul University is the first university of Afghanistan to offer a Masters degree in women and gender studies, teaching feminist theories, media, civil society and conflict resolution in its two-year programme. The programme is funded by South Korea and run by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Among the 22 students graduating this year were seven male students.
The programme testifies to a great change since the years of Taliban regime when female issues were taboo and women were largely confined to their homes and banned from education. Even now, after the toppling of Taliban by United States-led forces, women remain second-class citizens in the largely patriarchal country.
Mujtaba Arefi, one of the graduates, told media reporters that the occasion marked the beginning of a change. “With these programmes, we can understand the women’s place and status in our society. There is a possibility that we will reach a level of gender equality like the West,” he said.
Another graduate, Sajia Sediqqi, said she hoped her classmates would use their degrees to improve the situation of women in Afghanistan. “In a short period of time we cannot bring about any dramatic change, but with our higher education we can help change our society and serve our people, particularly our women,” she said.