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Education and Gender Equality

Gender Inequality and Education World Health Organization defines gender inequality as ’the difference between men and women which systematically empowers one group to detriment of the other.’1 For an example, throughout in world, women have lower cash income on average than men.Gender values and norms can give rise to gender inequalities which when combined with gender differences give rise to inequalities between men and women in access to education.

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For example a girl or woman is unable to access the education because the norms in her community prevent her from doing so.

Another example from developing countries can be that, children are unable to get education as they need to work hard to support the family, as accessing food and money is their major priority, for living may be. The given table of education presents the percentage ratios of variables like; literacy rates, participation to pre-primary, primary and secondary school participation in between male and female and access to internet and mobile phones per hundred population, in different countries and regions.

Generally speaking we observe that the percentage ratio in accessing education is higher among developed countries as compared to developing countries. But we also observe strikingly high difference of education-participation among developing countries when we take a look at them, especially developing countries from the South-East Region. For example Sri Lanka and Maldives come up with very high education-participation ratio which is extra-ordinary.

And I have discussed it in one of group-mate discussion post that Sri Lanka is a country where Education is given one of higher priority and facilitated free of cost by the government from the pre-primary level up-to university level. Maldives is a rich and well established state and the education is on top priority by the government which makes it easily and highly accessible to everyone.

Talking about access to internet and mobile phone per hundred population, a surprising fact comes up that the users of these devices are higher in rich and developed countries but especially the countries in European region, for example Finland, Croatia, Germany, Italy, etc. But we also observe that the use of mobile phone is very much higher if compare them with internet usage. The main reason can be the very easy and lower cost of access to mobile phones everywhere as it is one of the most useable devices for social-communication in the world.

On the other hand, accessing to internet is not always easy and available in all parts within a country, especially in rural areas and it can be very expensive to afford sometimes. If I talk about my country, Pakistan, being the second largest Muslim country after Indonesia, gender inequality in education still exists despite the Noble Quran’s spirit of “Iqra” (Read/Study). The main reasons for holding back gender equality of education are gender discrimination, early marriage and pregnancy, cultural stereotypes, etc.

As a conclusion I believe achieving education for all requires a truly global commitment. A lot of work needs to be done in this aspect and to make complete the goals of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Program for achieving universal primary education, promotion gender equality and empowering women. Reference: World Health Organization: Why Gender and Health. Available at: http://www. who. int/gender/genderandhealth/en/index. html

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