The beloved children’s television program “Sesame Street” is introducing its first hijab-wearing muppet, a girl named Zari from Afghanistan. Reuters reports the new character is supposed to promote female empowerment and education.
Educational opportunities for Afghan women were almost completely nonexistent 15 years ago. However, “Sesame Street” is opening doors for girls in the nation, as the popular show is influencing fathers to see the value in educating women.
Sesame Workshop’s executive vice president Sherrie Westin said, “The exciting part about Zari is that she is modeling for young girls that it is wonderful to go to school and that it’s ok to dream about having a career.”
She continued, “It’s so powerful that the first Afghan Muppet is a girl.”
According to Reuters, 81 percent of Afghan children aged three to seven have viewed “Sesame Street.”
“Part of the power of the broadcast and Zari’s potential as a role model is to reach children and parents where they may not have access to other educational content,” Westin said.