Factors that are barriers to female education
I would like to express my gratitude to all those who helped me during the whole of my project. I gratefully acknowledge the help of my supervisor, Miss Zehra Raza, who has offered me valuable suggestions in the academic studies. In the whole of final project, she has spent much time to help me and provided me with inspiring advice. Without her patient instructions, insightful criticisms and expert guidance, the completion of this project would not have been possible.
In the end, my gratitude also extends to my family and friends who have been assisting, supporting and caring for me all of my life.
The objective of the research is to determine the factors that are barrier to female education as well as the reasons why parents do or should pay attention to female education. Moreover, the aim of the study is to analyze the intensity of their affect on female education with respect to rural and urban districts of Pakistan.
The research is qualitative and the data type is primary. The data is collected through questionnaires and interviews. The planned sample size of questionnaires was 50, 25 females from urban districts and 25 females from rural districts. Cross tabulation was used to analyze the relationship between the dependent and the independent variables. SPSS software was used for data analysis. Furthermore, by data interpretation, the intensity of the factors affecting female education enrollment negatively and positively were analyzed.
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
Gender disparity in the education sector is a crucial aspect that has been overlooked and neglected by many developing countries; however, it is an aspect that can strongly direct countries towards prosperity. According to the World Bank, there is no investment more effective for achieving development goals than educating girls.
Pakistan has been facing great gender disparity in the education sector over the years. According to the UNESCO, 60% of the girls and 72% of boys were enrolled in primary school in the year 2008. Furthermore, 28% girls and 37% boys were enrolled in the secondary education for the same year. The statistics in rural areas are far worse than the urban areas. Gender discrimination still prevails in both primary and secondary education level. However, many developing countries have registered improvement in the primary education sector. This disparity has decreased to a considerable extent in the Urban districts where as, the problem continues to prevail in the Rural districts where parents and head of the households fail to acknowledge the importance of female education. There are many factors which discourage parents to educate their daughters; these factors are extremely strong in the rural districts.
OVERVIEW OF THE PROBLEM
There are many factors prevailing in Pakistan that hinder female education. The study expects to investigate these factors and analyze their affect on female education enrollment in rural and urban districts of Pakistan. The main factors that discourage parents from educating their daughters and are observed in this study are:
Cultural norms: Due to the cultural norms prevailing in Pakistan, most of the people expect women to look after the house and be adept in household chores. Therefore, parents pay no or little attention to a girl’s education believing that it would be useless for her in the future.
Stereotypes: Stereotypes prevailing in the society are a strong barrier to female education. It is considered that a very educated female is too clever or thinks she is too superior to be confined to do household chores. Moreover, working females are still considered a taboo in some societies. Furthermore, parents believe that if they educate their daughters too much they would not be able to find suitable grooms for themselves.
Wealth: Income of the family is a crucial factor hindering education of females. It has been observed that high income families pay more attention to female education than low income families. Low income families pay more attention educating boys of the family since they believe that their son would help them look after the family business or earn for them in future. Where as, they consider spending money on a girl’s education as a lost investment thinking that their daughter would soon go to her husband’s place and would give no benefit to them in the future.
Age: Many parents, especially in the rural districts, marry their daughters at a very early age which leaves them uneducated for the rest of their lives. Moreover, parents do not educate their daughters when she grows up feeling it inadvisable for them to go out of the house unnecessarily.
Religion: Many parents restrict the movement of their daughters out of the house in the name of religion. This is frequently common in the rural districts, where parents do not allow their daughters to walk out freely from their house after a certain age. They are of the view that a female should not have any sort of encounter with males as it is strictly forbidden in the religion. Furthermore, parents do not allow their daughters to study in co-education schools because they believe it is prohibited in the religion.
Household factors: It is believed by many that husbands should always be more educated than heir wives. This statement is religiously followed in rural areas and to a great extent in the urban districts. Therefore, parents do not want their daughters to educate at a higher level since they think that if they educate their daughters too much, they might not find a groom since men would not want to marry a woman more educated than them. Furthermore, the generalized perception is that husbands should be the primary source of earning for the family, and many parents sought to marry their daughters to families where they would not have to work. This view discourages parents from educating their daughters.
Unavailability of schools: Unavailability of female schools is a problem faced by many females living in the rural districts. There are hardly any schools near the houses. Schools are located miles away from the house so parents do not feel comfortable with sending their daughters so far from the house especially when there is no transportation. The schools available either cater to boys only or have really low standard.
Government reforms: Government does not seem to take adequate measures or reforms to eliminate gender disparity in education. There are hardly any incentives given to the parents so they’d want to educate their daughters. Moreover, the government is not taking enough action to create awareness amongst the parents residing in rural areas and to teach them the importance of educating females. Furthermore, governments spending in the education sector are not sufficient.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Female education is a significant aspect and should not be ignored if the country wants to progress. It does not only lead to economic growth, but also enables a woman to reach her full potential capabilities. The developing countries paying attention to female education have evolved and have leaped towards development and growth. Following are the ways how education helps a woman:
Human capital: Female education increases human capital since education provides a woman with skills necessary to work outside their homes and therefore prepares them as labor force increasing the human capital.
Inflation: Female education helps fight inflation in a way that both parents are able to earn for the family and can therefore deal with the expenses. Moreover, they can provide a better life style and living to their children.
Unemployment: Educated females are more likely to work and earn as compared to uneducated women. So educating women will cause a decrease in the unemployment rate of the country.
Low fertility rate: It has been statistically observed that female education decreases fertility rate. Lowering the fertility rate has always been a crucial problem for the developing countries where resources are scarce.
Inter-generational education: The percentage that a child will receive education greatly depends on mother’s education. Educated mothers pay more attention to their children’s education and therefore, it increases inter-generational education.
Improved children health: The research shows that educated mothers can take care of children in a better way than uneducated mothers. They are more skilled in upbringing their children and focus more on their children’s nutrition hence, ultimately improving their child’s health.
Protection against HIV/AIDS: Educated population is more aware of the importance and ways of protection against HIV/AIDS. Moreover, education creates awareness amongst women and men both, and emphasizes the importance of hygiene and cleanliness.
Decreased child mortality rate: It has been observed that educating females decreases the child mortality rate to a considerable extent. This is because educated females are more aware of how to take good care of their children.
Prestigious jobs: Education helps females to obtain prestigious jobs that will not only boost up their confidence but will also put their skills and qualities to practice.
Well being: Besides helping them obtain better jobs, education helps females to look after themselves in a better way. They get experienced at their job and also help them to lead a better life.
Women empowerment: Education is the most important asset for a woman. It builds up her confidence and is highly important for their self esteem. It has been observed that educated females feel more confident about them and are more independent. Moreover, it gives them self-assurance that they can face the hardships and challenges of life without anyone’s help or support.
Kuenning and Sajeda Amin (2001) sheds light upon two aspects, which are the human capital aspect and the capabilities aspect. The human capital aspect talks about how a women’s education should be laid emphasis upon because it is a useful measure to accomplish other results like diminishing the fertility rate. It states that the researches show that women’s education is a good asset because educated mothers are more efficient in realizing goals that are significant in a society than the illiterate mothers. Moreover, education increases women’s abilities to make choices. Furthermore, a mother’s education has a stronger influence on the child’s education, the chance that a child will receive education heavily depends on the education of mothers rather than fathers, and therefore it enhances inter-generational education. On the other hand, the capabilities approach studies the fact that promoting women’s education is a vital move because it enhances women’s potential. In order to explore how parents and children think about the costs and benefits of education, in-depth interviews were conducted in 1996 and 2000 in two villages located in the Rajshahi district of Bangladesh. The interviews were conducted in three neighborhoods included in school study. The schooling study sample included a 25% random sample of male headed households and all female headed households in the two villages. In study villages, most Bangladeshi villagers view women’s education a way to make a good marriage. Parents perceive that the best way to advance their daughters’ well being is through a good marriage, which takes priority over education. People in the villages also speak of women’s education as a way of increasing a woman’s earning power. It also increases inter-generational education. Moreover, it is commonly believed that a girl’s schooling does not enhance their capability to have control over their environment. Despite the beginning of mass education, girls still have no voice in when and whom they will be married to, which is one of the important dealings of their lives. On the other hand, some respondents in the villages did speak of their daughters’ education that directly links with the capabilities approach. Women in Bangladesh who had undergone many hardships spoke about educating their daughters so that they would be able to stand on their own feet. In addition, they will not be fully dependent on their husbands to fulfill their requirements.
Akin (2005) studies the link between education, fertility rate , gender and levels. The article focuses the importance of education on fertility in terms of postponing weddings and aim for a better life. The study illustrates that low population growth leads to higher growth. Furthermore, the ideal family size of women with no schooling is significantly larger than those with any education. A study at Iran, Salehi-Isfahani (2000) shows that reducing fertility depends on an educated generation of parents and high returns of human capital. The employment of females also has an effect on fertility.
The data and variable analysis shows that there is a trend on the fertility rate in the Middle East. It is consistently reducing from 3.8 to 2.5 over 19 years. Another methodology which is used is the panel data analysis. A Panel method allows receiving common trends. The terminations show that the inadequate growth has a relationship with the high fertility rate in Middle East. In the Middle East, the average ratio for fertility is 4.33 children per woman. Fertility is inversely linked with female education enrollment in primary and secondary education, urbanization, tertiary education, and female participation in the labor force. It is positively related with infant mortality, and male enrollment in primary and secondary education.
Khan and Ali (2005) shed light upon the fact that Pakistan is a country where the majority of the education strategies and procedures have been unsuccessful to make any considerable contribution to increasing literacy. The largest donor funded programme-Social Action Program (SAP), which was mainly focused on schooling in rural areas, specifically female schooling, failed to realize it’s objectives with poor records of disbursement and conducting. (CRPRID 2002). It also states that the schooling enrollment in rural areas as compared to urban areas is much lower. The purpose of the study was to analyze the demand side determinants of child’s schooling in rural areas using primary data from two districts of Pakistan. The study sheds light upon the question of whether and to what level child characteristics such as birth order, gender and head of household and parent characteristics such as age, gender, age, education, employment, income, and household characteristics such as ownership of assets, per capita income of household, family size, number of children, number of infants and gender of older siblings affect the school participation of children. The paper also discusses the gender specific determinants of the participation of children in schooling and highlights the causes of observed low school participation of girls.
Hicks (2002) discusses the “missing women” problem and states that over 100 million women are missing worldwide which means that they’re not even given close to equal treatment and opportunities like boys and men. According to the article, there should be over 100 million women in the world than they are currently alive. The concept of”missing women” has been taken into account through the perspective of Sen’s capability approach. Sen argues that what’s crucial for a human’s well being is what she is what she can perform or what she can become, and not just what custody and income she can hold. One of the prime revolution of Sen’s capabilities approach is to emphasize the concept of what is included in the specifications of societal development and individual’s well being. Sen’s analysis of “missing women” is based on population statistics and is related to birth rates and death rates, it sought to move attention to gender based discrimination in the most basic form of human performance. Moreover, the article says that the fact that females outnumbering men in some regions has led to the common delusion that females currently outnumber males in the world as a whole. In parts of Latin America, and North Africa and much of Asia, males significantly outnumber females.
Gupte (2004) states in his study that women are important assets in natural resources policies since rural women in developing countries are the way for most of the retrieval of food, fuel, and firewood for commercial and domestic use. However, when it comes to the administration of these resources gender inequality due to societal traditions limits the ability of women to take part in decision making even when they are not officially excluded. The research analyzes the effect of gender discrimination on women’s contribution by carrying out a comparative analysis between two states Maharashtra and Rajhastan, that had issued the Joint Forest Management resolution around the same time (1991 and 1992) were compared with respect to woman’s input in the Forest Protection Committees. Gender inequality negatively affects women’s taking part in Forest Protection Committees in terms of women’s rights not being granted, women being left out of the participation, and not being checked with regarding the different forest management options.
Kallaway (2001) purpose of study was to scrutinize the policies for occupational education in Africa, specificly with respect to rural communities, which were emphasized as the key characteristic of development plans in the ‘60s and ‘70s, have never been restored with practical substitute in following years. He further says that the need for linking the school curriculum to the rural world has increased over the years; however, the overall access to secondary and tertiary education and the prospects for finding alternative employment in the formal sector has decreased. Yet, the debate on these issues has been muted over the recent years. Despite the plans on the future of education after apartheid, there has been little enthusiasm to learn from the African experience of the education in the post colonial era. He believes that this is the result of a deep seated legacy within resistance politics of viewing the South African experience as unique. This neglect of the African experience is also probably the result of a largely held point of view that educational innovation in Africa is unreasonable; it is also delinked from the realities of the marketplace.
Zhao and Glewwe (2010) talk about how education is important for economic growth and social development (Glewwe & Kremer, 2006). The purpose of their research was to examine school achievement in a poor rural area of China, by carrying out a household survey from Gansu, a less developed province in Northwest China. They observed that mother’s education and household income have strong positive impact on schooling. Moreover, mother’s expectations of the highest level of education for their children increase their years of schooling. A child’s health also has a positive influence on education. They recommend that in order to diminish the school drop out ratio, certain measures should be taken, such as research on how to improve a child’s health. Moreover, factors that shape a mother’s expectations for their children should be investigated as they will be useful. They further suggest that the school labs should be checked if they make school fun-looking, the most effective way of doing so is by conducting a random trial that provides science labs to randomly select schools. And lastly, they suggest that there should be more research on how to make schools effective in promoting children learning of the curriculum. All schools must teach children skills that they’ll in need of after finishing school.
Stair, Rephann and Heberling (2006) state that there has been apprehension for the value of local public education in the United States in the recent years, which is primarily because of the weakness of children in subjects like math, English and reading. Their study analyzes how many households are willing to pay for enhancements in the quality of local public education in two areas of a rural school district in Pennsylvania. In order to investigate the role of household attributes in respondents’ willingness to pay, three analyses were conducted. Rubinfeld (1977), Akin and Youngday (1976), Bergstrom et al. (1982), and Lankford (1985) found that demand for increased expenditures per student varies positively with income. Following associated sense, demand for improvements in public school quality should also be strongly influenced by household income. They also found out that having children or grandchildren in the school system and household size may affect demand for education and respondents would have a positive perspective of education. Moreover, household size may have an independent effect. Previous studies show that the number of people in a household also have an affect on the demand for increased school expenditure. Moreover, they concluded that the occupation and educational achievement levels of the members of the household may also affect household willingness to pay for increases in public school quality.
Sawada and Lokshin (2009) state in their study that inter-country researches show that human capital investment in Pakistan are not up to the mark. Moreover, the school enrollment rates are low and there is great gender disparity in education. As a result, the low level of enrollment in Pakistan may have a strong negative impact on the country’s long term macroeconomic growth. Their study aimed to find obstacles to school enrollment by using field surveys that were conducted in twenty five Pakistani villages. Their study revealed an important aspect of rural Pakistani education which is the high education preservation rate of girls. They state in their study that while the father’s education impacts primary school entry, school succession after primary school entry is more influenced by the mother’s education. They also analyze the important dynamics of the gender disparity in education. Moreover, they suggest that a possible policy is to relax the credit constraints that households face, perhaps through a scholarship program or interest free student loans for female education. For example, microfinance programs might indirectly enhance educational investment.
Buchmann & Hannum (2001) researched on education and inequality in developing countires. His empirical study was split into four wide groups, namely, macro-structural forces reinforcing education and stratification; the link between family settings and educational productivity; school enrollment effects; and education’s influence on economic and social mobility. Inequality is greatly affected by the interrelationship between a child’s family views about education which is thought of as demand and the availability of education which is thought of as supply. Moreover, the macro-structural elements like state policies and global forces greatly impact the demand for education and the supply of schools. They also investigated on how a child’s family background and setting, socioeconomic status, material resources and family structure and environment affected his or her educational results in developing countries and gave recommendations and suggestions on strategies to cover up the knowledge gaps among the communities. Other findings included that inappropriate curriculum syllabus in schools and gender biased attitude contributed to the decreased enrollment rates. Furthermore, employment of unskilled labor undermines females’ progress to higher education in developing countries.
The research type is qualitative because the study aims to find out aspects, issues and factors that affect female education enrollment both, negatively and positively. Moreover, the research tends to differentiate and analyze these factors with respect to urban and rural districts.
This is a primary research. Questionnaires are going to be circulated both in rural and urban districts amongst both, men and women; to find out how important is female education to them. Moreover, to find out why they think a women should and should not educate. Further more, I plan on conducting interviews with the parents to find out more about the factors motivating and demotivating the society towards educating their daughters.
Sources of data:
The following articles have been consulted:
International journal of politics, culture and society, Vol. 15, No. 1, (2001)
The journal of developing areas, Vol. 39, No. 1, (2005)
The journal of economics, Vol. 8, No. 2
The journal of religious ethics
Human Ecology, Vol. 32, No. 3, (2001)
Economics of Education Review 29 (2010) 451–460
Economics of Education Review 25 (2006) 521–531
International Journal of Educational Development 25 (2005) 333–348
International Journal of Educational Development 21 (2001) 21–32
Journal of Development Economics 88 (2009) 335–347
Theoretical framework and variables under consideration:
Economic growth: Female education helps increase human capital, fight inflation and helps reducing unemployment.
Cultural norms: How stereotypes prevailing in a culture effect female enrollment.
Unavailability of female schools: Female schools are extremely less in rural areas and are far away from the homes.
Educational benefits: Educational benefits for women perceived by parents, such as women’s empowerment, ability to make choices, well-being, being able to attain prestigious jobs, involvement in politics, marriage capital and builds up their self esteem.
Demographics: How educating females affect the demographics by lowering fertility rate, increasing inter-generational education, improving children’s health, protecting against HIV/AIDS and lowering child mortality rate.
Age: The older a girl gets, the chances of her getting education becomes fewer.
Wealth: Income of the family is a crucial factor affecting female education enrollment. The wealthier the family, the chances of parents educating their daughters increases.
Household factors: It is generally perceived that husbands should be more educated than wives. Moreover, it is believed in most of the families that women should be confined to the home, look after the children and does household chores. Parents with lower income resist spending money on a girl’s education since there are no economic returns to it.
Population, working population and planned sample:
The total population considered would be the total population of Pakistan. Both, Urban and Rural areas will be consulted. The primary focus will be on the women of Pakistan, since the research is based on female education. The working population will essentially comprise of working women in Pakistan. The planned sample size is 50.
Is female education essential for economic growth?
Does age of a woman effect the amount of education she receives?
Does the head of the household determine education of a female?
Can religion be the cause of low female education enrollment?
Is unavailability of proper female schools a reason why female education enrollment is really low in the rural districts?
The research requires a statistical technique that establishes an interdependent relationship between two tables of values, therefore, cross tabulation will be used to determine a relationship between two qualitative variables.
Since the statistical technique to be used is cross tabulation, to analyze the relationship between two qualitative variables, I’m going to use Minitab to run it.
For interpretation, I’ll be running cross tabulation on the data gathered and collected, by using soft wares like Minitab. After that, I’ll be interpreting and analyzing the results by looking at different relationships of variables and their impact on each other.
Cross tabulation was used in this study to estimate the result of the survey. SPSS software was used for this purpose. Following are the results and their interpretations.
The dependent variable was the topic under study which is “female education enrollment” and the independent variables were the factors that determine female education enrollment that are Economic growth, increased human capital, well paid jobs, as well as the factors that hinder female education enrollment, namely, age, religion, wealth, limited mobility, stereotypes and family disapproval.
Economic growth * Human capital Crosstabulation
Ho= Female education is essential for economic growth as it increases human capital.
H1=Female education is not essential for economic growth since it doesn’t increase human capital.
The result for the cross tabulation of “Economic growth and Human capital” shows that out of the total sample size of 50, 35 recipients agreed that female education is essential for the economic growth of the country as it increases human capital, and only 8 recipients disagreed where as the rest of the recipients were neutral. We accept Ho.
Economic growth * Well paid jobs Cross tabulation
H0= Female education is essential for economic growth since it gives them access to well paid jobs and reduces unemployment.
H1= Female education is not essential for economic growth since it does not ensure well paid jobs and therefore, doesn’t reduce unemployment.