Authorities Cut Off Economic Lifelines by Banning Education for Women in Afghanistan as Families Struggle to put a Single Meal on the Table

December 22, 2022

Yesterday’s announcement excluding women from universities across Afghanistan will further hinder efforts to rebuild a country on the brink of economic collapse, against a stark reality where two thirds of the population will need humanitarian assistance in 2023. Denying women and girls an education, and excluding them from the workforce, will only increase the economic strain felt by millions of households struggling to afford even the most basic food items.

Jack Byrne, Mercy Corps Country Director for Afghanistan, says:

“It is not only distressing, but counterintuitive, to restrict women and girls almost half the population – from pursuing an education when the country is in economic free fall and facing one of the world’s most severe hunger crises. We’ve seen through years of providing vocational training how essential formal and non-formal education opportunities are to uplift women and girls’ economic opportunities and we are deeply disturbed by this news.”  

"Conflict, displacement and natural disasters have prompted Afghanistan's humanitarian situation to deteriorate rapidly throughout 2022. With more than 6 million people already on the brink of famine-like conditions and the world’s highest prevalence of insufficient food consumption, we are expecting two thirds of the population to be in need of humanitarian assistance in the new year. That’s some 28.3 million people.”

“Household incomes have decreased exponentially and we’ve seen a six-fold increase in reliance on humanitarian aid as a primary source of income. This is made worse by the fact that many women who previously contributed to household income are no longer able to work. At least half the population, and counting, are living on less than $1.90 USD per day. Putting even a single meal on the table has become a daily struggle” 

“This year less than 60% of the required humanitarian funds were raised by the international community. An even greater amount (US$4.62 billion) is needed to support vulnerable crisis-affected people in 2023. More funding is urgently needed, and without it, lives are on the line this winter.”

About Mercy Corps 

Since 1986, Mercy Corps has been working to improve the quality of life for Afghans and support conflict-affected communities. The organization is currently working to ensure Afghans have access to life-sustaining income, clean water and power, and can pursue productive livelihoods to feed their families.  We are also providing vocational training which in turn allows people to gain independence and be less reliant on humanitarian assistance.