Afghanistan’s ruling Islamic fundamentalist Taliban on Saturday ordered private universities not to allow women to take entrance exams, tightening restrictions on the education of women and girls in the country.
The ban comes a month after the university ban for women, and means a blanket ban on female students’ enrollment in any educational institutions.
After the takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban barred girls from secondary school grades 7 to 12, and forced universities to arrange gender-segregated classrooms and entrances. On 20 December 2022, all women were indefinitely banned from universities, including students, female teachers, and professors.
Afghanistan has 140 private universities across 24 provinces, with around 200,000 students. Out of those, some 60,000 to 70,000 are women, according to Canadian news agency Global News.
Afghan women and girls have been systematically excluded from public life and education since the Taliban regained power.
The Taliban forced the vast majority of women out of work by the end of 2021, allowing women to work only if their jobs could not be done by men. For example, in the Kabul government, there is only one job available for women: cleaning the women’s toilets.
In May 2022, women were prohibited from going out except out of necessity, and they must wear Islamic hijab and fully cover their faces when outside. The authorities also banned women from travelling distances of more than 45 miles without a male chaperone, and women in Kabul were banned from entering the capital city’s parks and gyms.