6 Promote gender equality and empower women

Where we are?

Eliminating gender inequality at all levels of education would help to increase the status and capabilities of women. Credit: UNDP Afghanistan / Rob Few

Gender equality has figured prominently on government’s agenda; considered as a major cross cutting issue within the MDGs-based Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) 2008-2013 has now been adopted as one of the 22 National Priority Programs (NPPs).

The situation of access to education for females has drastically improved since 2001. Ratio of girls to boys in primary education is 71% and by 2015 the target is to improve this ratio to 83%, which however will be difficult to achieve. Ratio of girls to boys in secondary education has also steadily improved from the dismal just over 30% to according to the data collected for 2012 which is 57 percent, similarly the target for 2015 which is 70 percent is difficult to achieve. However, the gaps still remains wide concerning the ratio of girls to boys in tertiary education.

The value recorded for 2012 reveal this ratio to be 36%, accounted for ratio of girls to boys in universities and other higher learning institutions, whilst accounting universities only, the ratio is low as 22%. Progress towards achieving the 70 percent ratio however is off-track. The ratio for the female to male concerning literacy rate (15-24 years of age) while has improved, according to data collected for 2012 the ratio is 52% while the 70% ratio for 2015 is a target difficult to achieve.

Women’s position in the labor market is weak and significantly weaker than that in the South Asia region. While data for ratio of representation of women in representative bodies is not available, it is likely to be between 20 to 25 percent ratio. Similarly, data for appointed, political seats and access to justice could not be ascertained for accuracy. The targets for 2015 and extendedly 2020 will be difficult to achieve.

UNDP's work in Afghanistan

  • UNDP Afghanistan: A woman entrepreneur from Herat displays her food products at the Rural Women Exhibition in Bagh-e-Babur, Kabul.

    Women Entrepreneurs from Herat Link with Kabul-Area Markets

    Women from across the western province of Herat are engaged in a number of entrepreneurship activities that include making handicrafts and jewelry, growing saffron and processingmore

  • UNDP Afghanistan / GEP II / Anusha Ahmadi: Azima Safi, a woman entrepreneur, runs an embroidery business that has provided work opportunity for 45 women from Jalalabad.

    A Home-Based Embroidery Business Witnesses Twofold Increase in Profit

    Azima Safi, 50, runs a small embroidery business in Jalalabad. She learned sewing handicrafts when she lived with her family as a refugee in Peshawar, Pakistanmore

  • UNDP Afghanistan / GEP / Anusha Ahmadi: Sima Gul, 38, who takes responsibility off her sick husband's shoulders through making and selling small pieces of jewelry.

    Jewelry Making Brings Hope to Impoverished Women in Herat

    A UNDP programme trains women in jewelry making so that they can provide their families with incomes and escape abusive situations Every day Sediqa, 26, walksmore

  • UNDP Afghanistan: Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez, UNDP Country Director, presenting the N-Peace Award to Afghan women's rights activist, Ms. Masouda Karokhi.

    Afghan parliamentarian Masouda Karokhi Receives the 2013 N-Peace Award

    An Afghan women’s rights activist, Masouda Karokhi, has received in Kabul the 2013 N-Peace Award, an initiative supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Ms.more

Targets for MDG3
  1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
    • Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
    • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
    • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament