you're reading...
Economic and Social Policies, International Relations, PUBLICATIONS, Structural and Cohesion Policies

Girls’ education in Pakistan – Malala Yousafzai

6 language versions available in PDF format

Bildung von Mädchen in Pakistan – Malala Yousafzai

La educación de las niñas en Pakistán – Malala Yousafzai

L’éducation des jeunes filles au Pakistan – Malala Yousafzaï

Istruzione delle ragazze in Pakistan – Malala Yousafzai

Edukacja dziewcząt w Pakistanie – Malala Yousafzai

Girls’ education in Pakistan – Malala Yousafzai

The European Parliament’s 2013 Sakharov Prize will be awarded to 16 year old education activist Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai’s campaign

Malala Yousafzai, Sakharov Prize winner 2013

© UN Information Centres

Yousafzai showed extraordinary courage in continuing her fight for girls’ education in the face of adversity: she comes from the SwatValley in northern Pakistan, which was ruled by the Taliban in 2008 and 2009. Daughter of a girls’ school head, Yousafzai described life under the Taliban for the BBC, aged 11. Since the Taliban tried to assassin­ate her in October 2012, Yousafzai has become world famous. Her “Malala Fund”, set up with help from actress Angelina Jolie, supports girls in developing countries who want to go to school. She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Pakistani girls’ education

Malala Yousafzai, Sakharov Prize winner 2013

© European Parliament

Pakistan is the country with the second highest number of children out of school, according to UNESCO. Two-thirds (over 3 million) of these are girls. Compared to other lower middle income countries, Pakistan has a low primary enrolment rate. Only 54% of girls are enrolled in primary school, which drops to 30% for secondary school. The figures for girls from rural areas are even worse (50% primary enrolment, 24% secondary). These figures vary by region. Girls are also more likely than boys to drop out of primary school, mainly owing to poverty. Although gender parity in education improved from 2001 to 2011, the World Bank still reports a ratio of 79 girls to 100 boys in primary and secondary schools (see figure 1). About 5% of children currently in school attend Madrassas – Muslim religious seminaries. Islamic organisations have expanded the scope of Madrassas to cover mainstream education. This has attracted the interest of the government and some external agencies, since it could give girls education otherwise denied. Two academics hold the view that improving state education would be far better for advancing gender equality than concentrating on Madrassas. UNESCO figures show that state spending on education decreased from 1999 to 2010, to just 2.3% of gross national product.

Causes of low enrolment figures

Poverty is an obvious adverse factor for girls’ schooling. When large families can only afford school for some of their children, daughters often lose out to sons. Other factors hindering girls’ education identified by researchers from the Pakistani Population Council include: access and long distances to school (with dangers of sexual violence), cultural constraints, early marriage and/or pregnancy, and lack of water and sanitation in schools.

Taliban’s effect on girls’ education

During their brief rule over the SwatValley, the Taliban destroyed more than 400 schools. More than half of these were girls’ schools. They argued that women (and girls) should stay in the home. The European Parliament stated in a 2012 resolution that violent extremism in Pakistan continues to impede the rights of girls. Since the government regained control of the region in 2009, it has rebuilt most of these schools, but there is still high inequality: there are 717 primary schools for boys, but only 425 for girls. Talimand Khan, from a Pakistani think-tank, adds that along with the number of schools, the quality of education has to be improved, too; some Pakistani religious representatives stated in interviews that girls should not receive the same education as boys, but be prepared to become ‘obedient’ wives and mothers.

Ratio of girls to boys in education; selected states with GDP comparable to Pakistan

Ratio of girls to boys in education; selected states with GDP comparable to Pakistan

Discussion

5 thoughts on “Girls’ education in Pakistan – Malala Yousafzai

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: 2014: a great year in European politics? A great year on the EPRS Think Tank Blog | European Parliamentary Research Service - December 24, 2014

  2. Pingback: Girls Education | Deep in the well - December 2, 2013

  3. Pingback: Women their education and chances to become a parliamentary | Stepping Toes - November 28, 2013

  4. Pingback: Futurology @the Parliament – The Week | Library of the European Parliament - November 22, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

EU’s refugee crisis
EU Legislation in Progress
Topical Digests
EPRS Podcasts

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,233 other followers

Disclaimer and Copyright statement

The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved

%d bloggers like this: