The Global Social Network
Women's education, literacy and labor force participation levels remain low in Pakistan but the gender gap is declining in terms of literacy rates and mean years of schooling, according to Pakistan Labor Force Survey 2017-18. There is about one year gap between men and women in terms of education attained. On average, a Pakistani male born after 1995 will leave school in 8th grade. A female born at the same time will leave in 7th grade.
At a recent Islamabad event organized as part of the World Bank's "Girls Learn, Women Earn" campaign, Mr. Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, said increasing years of schooling helps women become more productive members of society.
Pakistan Labor Force survey provides information on the country's labor force characteristics. It is based on a representative sample of 43,361 urban and rural households. For this purpose, total sample size is evenly distributed into four sub samples, each to be enumerated in a given quarter.
As of 2017-18, the overall literacy rate in Pakistan is 62.3%. Among males above age 10, 72.5% are literate. Females in the same age group are at 51.8%, trailing 20.7% behind their male counterparts. The percentage of women participating in the labor force is 24.9 as compared to 82.7 for men.
History of Literacy in Pakistan
At a recent Islamabad event organized as part of the World Bank's "Girls Learn, Women Earn" campaign, Mr. Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, said increasing years of schooling helps women become more productive members of society. He said: “Every additional year of schooling for a girl increases her future earnings by up to 10%. Pakistan can use the untapped economic potential of women in the workforce and estimates indicate this can boost the economy by up to 30%, by empowering women and girls to expand their skills, access to information, mobility, and access to finance and assets.”
Increasing Years of Schooling Leads to Women Having Fewer Babies
Prime Minister Imran Khan's government has launched two programs with the aim of particularly helping underprivileged women: Ehsaas and Kifaalat. These programs are headed by Dr. Sania Nishtar, a highly accomplished woman named special assistant to the prime minister. Speaking at "Girls Learn, Women Earn", Dr. Nishtar said:
“Government of Pakistan’s Ehsaas program has a very serious intent to drive forward the agenda of women empowerment. Ehsaas stringently follows fifty percent rule across the board for women inclusion in all Ehsaas initiatives including interest free loans, scholarships and asset transfers".
"Likewise, Kafaalat that has recently been launched by the Prime Minister will ensure financial and digital inclusion of 7 million disadvantaged women across Pakistan who will now benefit from the monthly stipend of Rs. 2,000 along with access to bank accounts and affordable smart phones,” she added.