Women's Rights

Afghan Education Ministry reverses ban on girls singing in public

By Salaam Times and AFP

image

Members of Afghanistan's first all-female orchestra, Zohra, get ready for their performance during the Pohoda festival in Trencin, Slovakia, on July 13, 2019. The members of the ensemble are some of the first women in their families and throughout the country to study music in the past 30 years, and they often have to deal with various threats. [Vladimir Simcek/AFP]

KABUL -- A ban on girls singing in public imposed by education officials in Kabul last week was overturned Sunday (March 14) after public outrage against it that sparked a social media campaign.

The ban had prohibited schoolgirls above the age of 12 from singing at public ceremonies with men attending.

In a statement Sunday, the Ministry of Education effectively reversed the ban, saying it "does not reflect the positions or policies of the ministry".

Schoolgirl choirs are a regular feature of official Afghan events, and the ban sparked backlash immediately after education officials announced it.

The ban raised concerns that education officials were "Taliban-ising" the country, heralding a return to a time when the authoritarian group barred the participation of women in almost all activities outside their own homes.

A recent Taliban crackdown in areas controlled by the group has seen Afghan women cut off from crucial aid, relief workers said earlier this month.

The Taliban have demanded an end to projects helping women to be more independent and have thwarted female aid staff from entering their territory in some areas.

Taliban attitudes a cause for alarm

Many fear that women will once again bear the brunt of the group's growing influence.

While the Afghan government has made efforts to curb violence against women and has helped to pave the way for their progress by creating jobs and other opportunities, the Taliban's dogmatic views on women are cause for worry.

The announcement that the singing ban was being lifted followed furious backlash from social media users using the hashtag #IAmMySong.

Some girls uploaded videos of themselves singing their favourite songs.

"In Afghanistan today the Ministry of Education suffocated the voices of our little girls by making it illegal for them to sing," Shamila Kohestani, former captain of the national women's soccer team, said on Twitter.

On Facebook, Tayeb Safa expressed her concerns: "I feel the Taliban are making a comeback."

Peace talks between the government and the Taliban have largely stalled in recent months, while a targeted assassination campaign -- including the murders of high-profile Afghan women -- has further rattled the country.

Do you like this article?

3 Comment

Comment Policy * Denotes required field 1500 / 1500

The ministry's first decision was correct. In a society like Afghanistan where sexual destitution is more than anything else, there is no need to have young girls go to the stage for singing songs. In the joint females and males' gatherings, it is ok to have girls under 12 sing songs because they are innocent, and no one look at them with bad looks; however, if young (adult) girls come, shake their breasts and sing songs in front of the men, then it is humiliation for the high position of a woman. Woman is a mother, woman is a sister, woman is a wife, and not a towel to be used this way. My thought is not originated from the dirty thoughts of Taliban who restrict women only to their homes and prevent them from getting an education; however, our society has its own values and limitations. This is responsibility of the international society to respect our values.

Reply

Are the same people who reacted against the decision of the Ministry of Education, ready to see their young daughters in front of men and have them sing? Why do you want freedom for the women of other people but you are not ready to give freedom to your women? Hamid Karzai, the former president wanted freedom for the women of people, but no one saw what his wife looked like. The majority of those who advocate for women’s rights and women’s liberation in Afghanistan, are nothing more than just libidinous individuals. The first rape of the footballer girls was perpetrated by director of the football federation, who always talked about women's liberation and encouraged girls to join the football team, but did not allow his own daughter to play football; therefore, all these claims of women's freedom are pure lies and they use women as sexual toys.

Reply

The Ministry of Education got scared of its masters (Britons), and took back the decree banning young girls from singing in public. Because Britons told them if you ban young girls from singing, we will not help you anymore. One thing I must say clearly, is that 95% of the people supported the Ministry of Education's decree to ban young girls from singing, and only less than 5% of the people who have grown up in the West reacted to the Ministry of Education's decision. Please consider the demands of the majority of people, consider what the majority of the people want. What kind of system they want and what kind of educational system they want? Do not impose Western laws on the people in this country. This is the reason why there is no security in the country. The demand of the absolute majority of the people of this country is an Islamic system, and whenever such a system is enforced in this country, then the security will be ensured in the country. Even the United States has accepted this, and is trying to change the government it established 20 years ago, and replace it with a system that is the demand of the whole nation.

Reply