Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai stated on Tuesday that under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, “girlhood is made illegal,” calling for gender apartheid to be recognized as a crime against humanity.
In her address marking the 10th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s death, she highlighted the impact on Afghan girls excluded from education, leading to depression, drug use, and suicide attempts.
Malala, speaking at the Mandela Foundation’s annual event, also criticized the Gaza situation, emphasizing the need to address the gender apartheid in Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban’s resurgence in August 2021, access to education and employment for girls and women has significantly diminished. Restrictions include the barring of teenage girls and women from schools and universities, loss of government jobs, and prohibitions from entering parks, funfairs, or gyms.
Speaking in to masses in Johannesburg, Malala drew parallels with South Africa’s fight against racial apartheid, urging global recognition and criminalization of gender apartheid.
She emphasized the need to explicitly codify gender apartheid, proposing its inclusion in a new UN treaty currently under discussion. Malala, alongside Hillary Clinton and other activists, advocates for amending a draft crimes against humanity treaty to encompass gender apartheid.