1.1 Poverty: an overview of Pakistan
The concept of gender inequality in education is a prevailing phenomenon. Everybody is aware of this problem and a lot of work has been done so far to investigate the extent of its impact on poverty. Gender inequalities in education exist in almost all poor countries and among the poor within these countries. There has been a considerable increase in education in low income countries over the last three decades (World Bank, 2001). While economic growth is essential for development, this is hardly an end in itself. In order to derive benefits of growth, it is important to recognize the interdependence between social and economic policies and promote their integration. Unfortunately social sector development has been an area of neglect by successive governments over a long period. In fact, this underdevelopment of human capital is a serious concern facing Pakistan at present. Poverty has been defined as a state in which income, resources and assets, usually of a material nature, but sometimes of a cultural nature, are lacking. In absolute terms it refers to a state in which the individual lacks that which is necessary for subsistence. In relative terms, poverty refers to the individual’s or group’s lack of resources when compared with that of other members of the society. Poverty is shaped not only by income, but also by access. It has various manifestations, including hunger and malnutrition, ill health and lack of access to education and other basic services. It is also manifested in increased morbidity and mortality from illness; homelessness and inadequate housing; unsafe environments; and social discrimination and exclusion. It is also characterized by a lack of participation in decision-making and in civil, social and cultural life. An interconnectivity exists between these three dimensions of success in one area is increasingly co-dependent on the other areas. Without an education, people cannot work productively, care for their health, sustain and protect themselves and their families or live culturally enriched lives. Poverty is a much broader concept than represented by consumption and income measures alone. In particular, the notion of poverty also considers deficiency in social and human development as well as institutional growth. Looking from this perspective, the broad definition of poverty provides some understanding on the widening social gap between urban and rural areas, and between genders, which is considered as one of the main reasons hindering growth and poverty reduction.
1.2 Poverty and growth in education sector of Pakistan: gender specific While the importance of education to the development effort has long been recognised, it has taken on an increasing prominence in the development agenda over recent decades. This has been accompanied by a concern with equity in educational outcomes: the achievement of universal access and the elimination of economic and social disparities. Gender disparities in education take other forms as well. Gross enrolment ratios conceal disparities in attendance and completion at each level of schooling. They also conceal the extent to which the quality of schooling received by boys and girls within the same family may differ, for instance, because girls tend to be concentrated in poorly equipped and managed government schools or even more poorly performing informal education centres while families struggles to send at least one boy to a private school. However, societies differ considerably in the extent to which women also participate in paid work outside the home: the most marked gender inequalities are generally to found in societies in which women are confined to the home and denied the possibility of participating in work outside the home (Townsend and Momsen, 1987; Kabeer, 2003; Sen, 1990). The restrictions on women's movements in the public domain in such societies reflects the importance...
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