“If you educate a man, you educate an individual; education contributes to his individual growth; it becomes his ‘private property’, as it were. But when you educate a woman, you educate the entire family!”
― Dada J.P. Vaswani
Education is considered to be one of the basic needs of an individual and should be available to both the male and female members of society. Although, it is imperative that women get quality education, it is a fundamental right of both genders.But unfortunately, in Pakistan, female education is barely a priority and there are some people who mockt he girls with this sentence that “ what will this higher education give you when the only destination of yours is kitchen and children’’. This psychi , this behaviour of such people need to get changed. Females are not only limited till kitchens but they have far more to do with the society and economy.
If you educate a man, you educate one person. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation. Clichéd but true, educating a woman does play a significant role in developing a society. It enforces a multiplier effect as she is largely responsible for managing the household and directly responsible for children’s development. Educating her would mean an advanced society. Perhaps this is the reason why Pakistan as a nation is lagging behind on many fronts. Our women are not educated.
This is either due to poverty as people are unable to afford the school fees or due to co-education being considered a tabooo or due to ill thinking of some people that females have nothing to do with higher education.There is also a shortage of proper schools. Also, parents favour educating their sons over their daughters because they think that boys are the future earning hands of their families. There is a need to change this mindset. This can be brought through initiating awareness programmes and practical action at the local level and by us too we can also make a difference , we can also work on it , its just about a will power , if we want we can and we surely can and make this change and let all the woman study and let all the woman who are career oriented , who are passionate and eager to get education we can give them motivation , we can give them wings by just giving them permission and support to get the education.
Statistics show that the literacy rate in pakistan is 58 percent with literacy rate of males 70 percent and 48 percent of females. Although education as a fundamental right of every individual is recognised in the Constitution, a large number of women remain deprived.
According to Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.”
But this is not implemented.
“32% of primary school age girls are out of school in Pakistan, compared to 21% of boys. By grade six, 59% of girls are out of school, versus 49%. Only 13% of girls are still in school by ninth grade,” according to the Human Rights Watch.
It is often argued that women’s contributions to the labour force can be an important driver for economic growth in Pakistan. This is represented not only in government reports but also by transnational organisations and NGOs. Indeed, one of the major themes driving girls’ education campaigns in the country is that educated girls will be able to secure jobs and thus contribute to GDP.
According to the latest available data (2014-2015), female labour force participation in Pakistan is at 22 per cent. Given that nearly 40 per cent of the population lives in poverty, it is likely that actual figures are much higher, implying significant participation of women in the informal economy.
While women’s entrance in the workforce and their economic independence are worthy ideals to pursue.
“economic growth through women empowerment, challenges and opportunities” . Economic development could not be achieved until we make our women economically independent. “We will be unable to reduce the huge gender gap without spreading awareness about the role of women and their participation in all spheres of life.Denying women opportunities to realise their potential was a waste of human capital and bar to economic progress.
There exists countless evidence on how investing in women’s education and health and paying attention to their employment opportunities and empowerment leads to achieving big dividends in terms of economic development. Leaving the social costs of not educating girls aside, a recent World Bank report has quantified the lost earnings and lifetime productivity of girls not being educated. The report says that limiting educational opportunities for girls and barriers to completing 12 years of education costs countries between $15 trillion and $30 trillion dollars. Interestingly, the study also finds that primary education is not enough and across many indicators, benefits from primary education are limited.
Globally 89 per cent of girls complete primary education, but only 77 per cent complete lower secondary education, which in most countries is nine years of schooling. In low income countries, the numbers drop to below two-thirds for primary education, and only a third for lower secondary school. The World Development Indicators compiled by the World Bank show that primary school enrolment has progressed in Pakistan, with about 97 per cent of children enrolled in primary school in 2016. Of these, 79 per cent of boys and 75 per cent of girls persist till the last grade of primary school.
Not only does this number drastically drop for secondary education but the wedge between both the sexes also increases. The enrolment ratio for boys almost halves relative to that for primary education; standing at 50 per cent for boys and 41 per cent for girls. Had all these girls deprived of secondary school education been educated, there would have been a tremendous impact on six important areas; (1) earnings and standards of living, (2) child marriage and early childbearing, (3) fertility and population growth, (4) health, nutrition and well-being, (5) agency and decision-making, and (6) social capital and institutions.
Although education has phenomenally transformative powers on the lives of both girls and boys, but not educating girls is especially costly due to the relationships between education, child marriage, and early childbearing, and the risks that they entail for young mothers and their children. On average, women with secondary school education earn almost twice as much as those with no education at all. Moreover, universal secondary education could virtually eliminate child marriage and also substantially reduce the risk of child bearing before the age of 18, which would be beneficial on many levels — on reducing fertility rates and improving psychological wellbeing. It would also have a positive impact on reducing maternal mortality due to age-related reasons and substantially reduce the risk of under-five mortality and malnutrition for children.
Women’s education is also crucial as it helps give them more agency in the decision-making process in the household. Studies have shown that when women have greater agency in the decision-making process, there emerge better choices for the overall family, especially in terms of health and education. Education would also enable women to better assess the quality of basic services available to them and the institutions behind them. Given the overwhelming evidence of the benefits of women’s education not on an individual but on a collective societal level, driving for higher enrolment rates at the secondary level and its persistence until completion should be one of the top priorities.
Therefore, our policymakers should specifically make the policies on women’s empowerment at the national level on health, education, economic opportunities, gender-based violence and political participation.