4.5 MILLION: NUMBER OF GIRLS WHO ARE OUT OF SCHOOL IN PAKISTAN (UNESCO)
18% OF PAKISTANI WOMEN HAVE MORE THAN 10 YEARS OF SCHOOLING
95.2% OF GIRLS IN SINGAPORE ARE LITERATE
ONLY 28.9% OF GIRLS IN PAKISTAN ATTEND SECONDARY SCHOOL
The ones most affected by this discrimination are the girls in the Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan provinces, where the female literacy rate stands between just 3% and 8% (UNESCO). The poorest girls in these three provinces are known to be the most disadvantaged as more than half of them have never been to school. Out of a total of 14,000 lower secondary schools and 10,000 higher secondary schools, only 36% and 30% respectively are available for girls.
Education is so important because when girls receive basic education, it empowers and enables them to gain skills, information, and self-confidence to become better parents, workers, and citizens. It also works as a social leveller to reduce gender inequality. Education is also beneficial for the economy and the development of the nation. According to UNESCO, literate Pakistani women earn twice as much as those who are illiterate.
For all girls in Pakistan to receive equal access to education, many factors need to be resolved. Firstly, a shift in societal perception of women is necessary. Legally, the Constitution of Pakistan states that education is a fundamental right of both males and females, but patriarchal values and negative social biases still exist. Women are believed to be incapable of being good workers, and many Pakistanis still believe that women should stay at home as wives and mothers, leaving the men to be the sole breadwinner in the family. In addition, very little budget is allocated to education in Pakistan (only about 2.4% in 2012). Furthermore, the Taliban, an Islamic terrorist group, has been actively destroying schools that cater to women as well as attacking women on their way to school. Lastly, poverty is a huge contributing factor to the problem of female illiteracy. All in all, the problem is multi-faceted and difficult to solve.