Educate to Empower Women: Effects of Literacy on Women in Pakistan

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“When one takes into account all its benefits, educating girls yields a higher rate of return than any other investment available in the developing world.” World Bank

Evidence shows that educating women & girls is the best investment to create positive change in the developing world. The children of educated mothers are more likely to survive, go to school, and live healthier because of higher nutrition and immunization rates. Research shows that educating women and girls lowers infant and child mortality rates, prevents diseases associated with poor sanitation and helps contain the spread of HIV/Aids. In Pakistan the story of a woman's deprivations start even before her birth, because the girl-child is not a particularly 'wanted' child. Her life is a journey of subordination. When she is young her father decides for her on matters ranging from whether she will get any education, to the all important matters of whom she would marry. After marriage, her husband and her in-laws get hold of her reins and decide matters on her behalf. Finally when she becomes old and her husband gets weak or may have gone already, it is her son or sons who decide her fate in the declining years of her life. As if this is not enough, the whole society acts as an oppressor, browbeating her in to obedience. Thus, the word 'woman' in Pakistan is synonymous with 'endurance', as Hina Jilani (activist ) puts it.

In addition to reporting from Pakistan and examining the benefits of literacy there, this paper will give an insight into the life of a female child labour which is often a fact of life. It talks about the problems faced by women in Pakistan, the benefits of education on women and on the society and recommendations to improve the situation in the developing countries.

Keywords: Educate to Empower Women
Stream: Equity, Social Justice and Social Change; Community, Culture, Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Educate to Empower Women

Abida Mahmood

Administrator Qurban Trust and General Secretary Pakistan Education Watch, Qurban & Surraya Educational Trust, Department of Education Punjab- Carities Commission Pakistan
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan

Mrs Abida Mahmood is a teacher trainer form UK and is now running a charitable organization by the name of Qurban trust in Lahore, which was set up by her father in 1980. The trust has four schools and one degree college for girls. The schools and college provide quality education to the poor at the lowest possible cost and all orphans and needy are educated free. She is also the general secretary of Pakistan Education Watch (PEW) which is registered voluntary NGO aiming to bring a change in the field of Education. She has been in Pakistan since 2002 but spends her summers teaching and training in UK.
Her personal experiences in Pakistan and the state of education of women has led her to highlight the issues of women education. She believes that investing in the education of women is the most effective way of reducing poverty.

Ref: L09P0127