UNcomplicated; Accessible Education for Women

Asia Culture House (Asia Culture and Art Organization) organized an online dialogue on October 1, 2020 about the future of UN.

This event brought together university lecturers, civil society activists and educational practitioners to discuss the future and what it holds, what needs to be done now to achieve sustainable development goals, and how the United Nations can restructure itself to be more helpful. Panelists discussed the threats to women’s education.

The dialogue covered the questions that have been provided by the UN Secretariat. The questions were adapted to cover the following SDGs:

  1. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,
  2. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,

We challenged audience of our live-streamed dialogue to come up with creative ideas to improve our response to and vision of the future. Participants were able to share their ideas through polls and chats. Audience of the live-streamed video were also given the chance to ask questions from the speakers.

Panelists:

  1. Masooma Masih, civil society activist,
  2. Malaka Ghasimi, advisor at the Ministry of Education,
  3. Younus Zaki, university lecturer,
  4. Qudrat Jamal, University Lecturer,
  5. Abbas Faraso, civil society activist,
  6. Asadullah Mohsini: civil society activist
  7. Lina Shirzad: reporter and human rights activist
  8. Wida Gulistani: civil society activist

Summary of key points


The following were key takeaways from this dialogue:

What will be implications of the Doha peace talks on women’s education?

While Afghans have suffered from the war and violence, peace at any cost will not be acceptable either. It was hoped that the Taliban has altered their medieval ideology. However, they are rejecting the most fundamental human rights of women.

Implications of the Doha peace talks on women’s access to education will depend on details of the final deal, the preconditions, and guarantees from both sides.

What are your messages to the negotiating teams in Qatar

Some compromise will be necessary but the final deal should not threaten women’s rights. Afghan government should preserve current progress in the education sector and reject the emirate system of governance. Parties should guarantee that fundamental human rights of women will be upheld, gender equality will be prioritized and the Taliban commit to fair access to education for women. The talks should not compromise women’s personal freedom.

What should the international community prioritize to recover better from the pandemic?

Globalization has created the possibility for students to benefit from world-class educational program from the comfort of their homes. To compensate the setbacks in education sector as a result of Covid-19, the international community should support educational institutes to navigate towards an online and digitized education system, provide financial support to increase access to internet for students, support governments that have weak institutions, increase public awareness of the epidemy and personal hygiene. Further, more concerted efforts should be undertaken to develop vaccines.

Will people in 2045 be better off than, worse off than, or about the same as today?

By 2045, we can achieve a new milestone in increased access to literacy, numeracy and higher education. Provided that the sector has enough funding, groups like the Taliban do not pose a threat, education is a priority.

What did your group most want to see in the year 2045, when the UN will turn 100?

In 2045, the panelists envisioned a world where women and men will be equal in every aspect of social and professional life, everyone will have access to quality education and inequality within countries will be limited.

What are the main obstacles and challenges that your group thought will most affect this vision?

Violence and uncertainties from the Doha peace negotiations, unemployment and underemployment, lack of capital, high rate of violence and environmental recklessness are some the obstacles and challenges, affecting the vision.

How can global cooperation – and in particular the UN – better help manage these challenges?

The panelists believed that international community and the UN should take a more active role in the Doha peace process, support the presidential system of governance and help reduce the violence. Current achievements within countries should be protected against any threats. International community should invest in women, in healthcare and in initiatives to improve solidarity between countries.

What would your group advise the UN Secretary General to do to address these challenges?

The UN is advised to increase its footprints in Afghanistan. Keep its formal offices open in the future, increase its activities and monitoring of projects. The UN should change its passive role towards the peace process by actively helping to uphold current achievements and warranting the Taliban support equal access to education.

If you wish to share your messages with the UN secretary, please visit https://un75.online/ and fill the one-minute survey. Live recording of the event can be found through the following link: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=660023087985521

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