Time to address Gender Inequality in Education

It is clearly true that women are a significant resource for global development. Quaid- e- Azam once said that “no nation can rise until their women are side by side with their men.” It is obvious that our nation cannot develop without the active involvement of women. Unfortunately gender inequality is one of the pressing issues of our times. One must realize that gender inequality being a global issue persists in many parts of the world including Pakistan. One school of thought suggests that the education system in Pakistan hinders the nation from achieving its goals. According to The Guardian “Pakistan is an economically divided society with 60% of the population living on less than 2$ a day and more than a quarter of national income in the hands of the top 10.” Pakistani women are currently doing little help to the socio economic development of the country owing to their lesser participation in the work force. A significant part of the population in rural areas is reluctant to send their girls to school. Education is indispensable to both men and women as it illuminates the mind.

Investing in education is tantamount to investing in individuals who are the most valuable resource of a nation. According to Dawn even with the increase in 2015-16 education budget Pakistan‘s present “expenditure on education is the lowest in South Asia.”

It is hard to believe that in this modern age a large part of our society is still held captive by old customs and prejudice against women. Education of boys often takes precedence over the education of girls in many families and communities. It has been witnessed that school and collage going girls often face harassment by men on roads and in public transport. Girls often do not tell their parents about the harassment they face fearing that might be ordered to stay at home.  According to “The World Bank Report 2017” Pakistan despite of regaining macroeconomic stability is far behind in human development than rest of the South Asian Sates. The report further reveals that Pakistan is the only South Asian country with the lowest involvement of women in workforce.

The World Bank has described “Girls education” far beyond the notion of just sending girls to school.  The main idea is that girls should learn and feel safe in school. Furthermore they should finish all levels of education and gain the required skills and competencies to enter the work force. In addition to this girls need to develop the socio- emotional and the life skill essential to deal with an ever changing world.

As stated in The Daily Times according to “The District Ratings 2016” the number of schools for boys is 93,635, whereas the number of school for girl is 57,779. The number of girl’s school is fairly low despite the fact that women have a high share in population. It is important for the society at large to understand the importance of female education in Pakistan for the progress of our nation. Depriving girls of education can potentially drag the country backwards. Several years ago many girls dropped out of schools as a result of the speeches of an extremist leader on FM radio. The extremists being opposed to female education closed down girl’s schools in Swat.  According to “The Express Tribune” many girls in Swat have returned to school which obviously is a good report. Both the government and the civil society should make efforts to promote girls education. Quiad-e - Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah said “It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners.”  It is high time for us to realize as a nation that without a higher participation of women in workforce we cannot prosper in these challenging times.

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