Gender inequality

Equal access to quality education must be ensured for women and girls

Editorial May 30, 2024


An event, organised in Islamabad last week under the International Governance and Sustainability Institute, has highlighted the imperativeness of gender equality and women empowerment in Pakistan and called for urgent action on the UN SDG-5, dedicated to achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls by 2030.

It is disheartening to note that Pakistan has kept up with the global trend of poor performance in this area and is one of the leading countries in gender inequality. The country ranked 142nd out of 146 countries on the Global Gender Gap Report 2023, primarily owing to the prevalent gender disparities in the dimensions of political empowerment, economic participation and opportunities, and educational attainment. Gender parity and women empowerment, thus, remain elusive goals for the country.

The widest gender gap in the country is in the area of political participation — only one-fifth of parliamentarians are women and a mere one-tenth serve as ministers. Women should have equal opportunities to participate in decision-making processes and hold leadership positions. Constitutional and legal reforms are also imperative to make sure that the laws and legal processes to support women are effectively implemented.

Despite improvements, girls in rural as well as economically and socially challenged urban areas have limited accessibility to educational opportunities. Equal access to quality education must be ensured for women and girls. Additionally, scholarships and mentorships for women in STEM can help increase gender parity in male-dominated fields. Enhancing labour force participation and wage equality for women is also critical to mending the gender gap in the country. Efforts must also be made to improve women’s access to resources, improving their overall agency and ability to make strategic choices about themselves in different aspects of their social lives.

Achieving gender equality in the country requires concerted action guided by a multi-faceted approach to address a range of structural and socio-political impediments.


Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2024.

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