Nasima Rahmani is the Director of the Women's Empowerment Centre at Gawharshad Institute of Higher Education, Kabul, Afghanistan. In this role she works as a lecturer and advocate. Rahmani’s 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, and later supported by funding from UTS: Law.
"My goals are to institutionalise gender studies in the higher education system in Afghanistan, and establish a women's college at Gawharshad ... I believe education is the first step to empowerment."
In her current role at Gawharshad, Rahmani supports female students and educates the student body on empowerment issues. Gawharshad is currently offering Bachelor's Degrees in the following programs: Law, Political Sciences, Economics, Social Sciences, Political Sociology and Education Management.
Rahmani was one of the first Peace Scholars from Afghanistan whose scholarship was made possible through a collaboration between the Peace Scholarship Program and the United Nations Development Fund for Women Australia (UNIFEM) now UN Women. After completing the final semester of her Masters of Law at UTS and achieving outstanding results, she returned to Afghanistan to promote gender equality and education for Afghani women.
"My goals are to institutionalise gender studies in the higher education system in Afghanistan, and establish a women's college at Gawharshad that will offer further opportunities to women whose education has been interrupted by culture, war, economic conditions and children. I believe education is the first step to empowerment," Rahmani says.
Of the 1,100 students enrolled at Gawharshad currently, 35 per cent are female, which is unique to Gawharshad due to the scholarships it offers to women. In government universities, the percentage of female students is below 22 per cent.
Rahmani was awarded the UTS Alumni Award for Excellence 2012 – Faulty of Law for her significant contribution to ensuring the human rights of women in Afghanistan, and for widening access to education for Afghani women.