Women, Equality and Education

assad poster  webMonday, March 8, 2010
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

A panel of international students from Dickinson College will join Muska Assad, a recipient of a scholarship from the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women (IEAW), in a discussion of women, gender equality and education. This event is in observance of International Women’s Day which was created to commemorate the accomplishments of women and celebrate the fight for women’s equality.

This event is co-sponsored by the Women’s Center and Betty R. ’58 and Dan Churchill.

Topical Background
International Women’s Day (IWD) was first celebrated by the Socialist Party of America in 1909. Two years later, it was officially honored in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. For the next several decades, women across the globe rallied together each March to demand voting rights, better pay, and equality. Although it was initiated by a socialist movement, International Women’s Day slowly developed into a world-wide celebration of women, serving as a forum to recognize the continued struggle for parity. In 1977, the United Nations officially designated March 8 International Women’s Day. Today more than 15 countries have made March 8th a national holiday. This year, the United Nation’s theme for IWD is “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All.”

One of the greatest barriers to equal rights and equal opportunity is inadequate education. Worldwide, more than 60 million young girls cannot attend school. Denied education, these girls do not attain the skills and knowledge necessary to break away from restrictive gender roles, thereby depriving the world of their energy, creativity and overall potential.

Biography of Muska Assad
My name is Muska Assad, I am from Afghanistan. I grew up in Pakistan where my family moved due to the war in Afghanistan. Prior to attending college, I worked for several non-profits and donor organizations both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In 2005, I came to the U.S. to attend the University of Richmond for my undergraduate degree through the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women scholarship.

In 2009, I graduated from the University of Richmond where I double majored in political science and international studies with a concentration in world politics and diplomacy. My education in the U.S. has enabled me to explore the alternatives to help women in Afghanistan. I am currently taking a gap year to prepare for my graduate studies while working for United States Institute of Peace’s Rule of Law, which focuses on how to promote justice and rule of law in post-conflict countries.

As an Afghan woman, I grew up in a society where women were deprived of their basic human rights and faced inhumane and abusive behaviors on a daily basis. I was fortunate enough to be able to get an education and this privilege motivated me to help and empower women who are deprived of these rights.