The Taliban’s decision earlier this year to block education for girls took away 2.5% of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said.
In addition, UNICEF said its analysis “indicates that Afghanistan will not be able to recover the GDP lost during the transition and achieve its real productivity potential without fulfilling girls’ rights to access and complete secondary school education.”
UNICEF said Monday, “If the current cohort of three million girls can complete their secondary education and enter the job market, adolescent and adult women will contribute at least $5.4 billion to the Afghan economy.”
UNICEF said its tally did not take into account the non-financial impact of blocking girls’ access to education, which included a shortage of women becoming teachers, doctors and nurses. This, UNICEF said, would lead to a reduction in girls’ attendance at primary school and an increase in health costs associated with teen pregnancy.
The Taliban’s decision was “shocking and very disappointing,” said UNICEF Afghanistan Representative Dr. Mohamed Ayoya in a statement. This violates girls’ basic rights to education, and it “exposes them to increased anxiety, as well as a greater risk of exploitation and abuse, including child trafficking, early marriage and forced marriage,” he continued. [uh/ab]