In 2014, a report by Alif Ailaan ‘25 million broken promises’ released that 13.7 million (55%) girls are out-of-school in Pakistan. According the report, the reasons were:
· Parents do not allow
· Child not willing
· Education is expensive
· School is too far
· Had to work at home
· Too young/old to attend
· Had to work for a living
Now that it is 2015, lets bring a change to these ugly statistics and look towards educating the girls for a better future.
In our society, although equality between males and females is spoken of in all religions, there is a large portion of society that still wants to keep the females ‘behind the scenes’. Are they scared that the girls being raised in their homes will be able to break the old school of thought if they are educated? And if those families are saying that they cannot afford to send their girls to school, then they should also keep their boys at home. Besides, there are many NGOs working in Pakistan towards educating the children for ‘free’. In the end, it is always about will.
Recently, I met a family who visited Karachi from Swat. I was very impressed to learn that although living in a place considered terrorism-hit and tribal, the parents of a 14-year-old girl shared with pride that they will educate their daughter. Her mother got married in her teenage. Normally, the mother plays an important role in convincing the father, but for this family, it was the other way round. The father is the one who wants his daughter to get educated and gets ‘angry’ whenever in Swat anybody asks them when they plan to get the daughter married.
Let us have a look at why educating females is necessary:
· Basic education gives women greater power. It enables them to make smarter choices over what to do with their lives. In our society, sadly, a lot of people think that power and choice are the rights of men only.
· There is an African proverb which goes like this: If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family – and a whole nation. This simply means that an educated mother is more likely to focus on the education of her children than an educated father and an illiterate mother. So here’s to seeing the future generations educated if the females in Pakistan along with their families focus of on educating girls.
· Please stop marrying off girls at a young age. It leads to young motherhood which is firstly not good for their bodies and secondly, if they are illiterate, they won’t know how to take their household forward and build an educated future for them. When you educate a girl, she is likely to get married at an older age, when she is mature enough to take care of herself and her family.
· When the female is educated, she plays a big role in family planning. This way, there will be control in the population growth.
· Moreover, educated girls are more likely to raise a voice against torture and violence than an uneducated girl. This can include domestic and sexual abuse, where the girl should not keep suffering and rather save herself by making a choice.
· Then, there are chances of improvements in the standards of living. When a woman is literate, she will be capable of working for a living. The husband and the wife can both earn to build a better future for their children. Furthermore, they can invest more in the quality education of their own children for a better future.
· With educated girls comes a decrease in maternal and child mortality rates. These mothers will be aware of the importance of vaccination, proper nutrition and health practices. Instead of relying on ages old traditional birth techniques, an educated woman is more likely to save herself and her child by visiting doctors and understanding their health much better.
· Educated women are also more likely to have their say in political discussions and decision-making. This leads to more representation and an effecti ve government.