Nasima Rahmani is the Director of the Women’s Empowerment Centre at Gawharshad Institute of Higher Education (GIHE), Kabul, Afghanistan, where she also lectures in Law.
Her journey started with a Master of Laws at UTS (2007), which she commenced with the aid of a scholarship through the IDP Peace Scholarship Program, a collaboration between the Peace Scholarship Program and the United Nations Development Fund for Women Australia (UNIFEM), now UN Women. After completing the masters with outstanding results, she returned to Afghanistan to promote gender equality and education for Afghani women.
In her role at Gawharshad, Nasima supports female students and educates the student body on empowerment issues.
Nasima strongly believes education is the first step to empowerment, and her primary goals are to institutionalise gender studies in the higher education system in Afghanistan, and to offer further opportunities to women whose education has been interrupted by culture, war, economic conditions and children.
Her work is a substantial commitment to human rights, and all this is achieved under very difficult conditions. There is a long history of insurgents in Afghanistan killing to prevent women accessing education, as highlighted by the near-fatal shooting of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in 2012 and Nasima’s work puts her own life at risk.
In 2012, Nasima received the UTS Alumni Award for Excellence – Faculty of Law, for her significant contribution to ensuring the human rights of women in Afghanistan, and for widening access to education for Afghani women. She was also selected amongst her peers to receive the prestigious UTS Chancellors Award for Excellence, taking her place among the UTS Luminaries group of outstanding alumni. Presenting the award, UTS Chancellor Professor Vicki Sara said, “Nasima is someone who has selflessly devoted herself to bettering the lives of others. Learning about her work and her accomplishments, I’ve been inspired and have come to understand that what she does truly makes this world of ours a better, kinder, more dignified place.”
In May 2014 she founded the Afghan Federation of University Women, continuing her work in empowering women and girls through lifelong education.
Meet Nasima Rahmani, the 2015 Advance Global Australian Alumni Award Winner.