Investing in Women is a Smart Choice
By » Muhammad Uzair Hashmi(Chief Editor at Governance) 24-Nov-2011
Pakistan is one of the most rapidly growing countries in the world regarding population. The increase in population no doubt increases the human resource within a country; this potential resource supports the country in each and every sector in physical terms. But, what if, we do have the human resource, we do have appropriate escalated reproductive base in our country, but we do not have adequate means to develop, groom, esteem and utilize our work force. Human resource is converted into human capital when a country invests appropriately to manage and develop it, and, investment obviously needs several internal, external, tangible and intangible sources. Unfortunately, Pakistan is facing acute gap between means and necessities. In such situation we need to address the needs of existing population which is curtailing our resources in a big deal, instead of increasing our population. Human resource within a country consists of both male and female genders; developing male resource is not enough to expedite growth in our country, it is more important to grow the women who will educate our upcoming generations.
Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and the second most populated Muslim country after Indonesia. In 1998 Pakistan’s total population was 132.35 Million, having density of 166.3 persons per square kilometer. At that time we had 2.8% as our annual average growth rate. Referring to the latest statistics conducted in year 2008 we have the total population of 174.59 Million, if we internationally compare the substantial growth rate in our uncontrollable population; we are ahead of Russia and very slightly behind Brazil. By the year 2020 it is expected that our population will reach 208 Million, hence converting the poor into poorest. Still we have 20% of our population who is living below international poverty line earning around 1.25 $ per day.
Beside the high growth rate we have to cope with another issue, which is, infant mortality. Seventy infants out of one thousand dies due to different reasons, which are mainly, the inadequate facilities provided in hospitals, vulnerability of the child due to bad cures, lack of skilled technical staff in hospitals, lack of proper food, and the most important is the weak health of the mother. The uncontrollably increasing population is the basic running force of every problem. The government of Pakistan has already formulated several policies to educate the people regarding population control methods and their potential returns. Although population control awareness is around 97% in our country, but still there is a negligible compliance and acceptance by the people.
Evaluation of data for men and women reveals significant difference in educational attainment. By 1992, among people older than fifteen years of age, 22 percent of women were literate, compared with 49 percent of men. The practically slow rate of improvement for women is reflected in the fact that between 1980 and 1989, among women aged fifteen to twenty-four, 25 percent were literate. According to the United Nation sources that in 1990 for every 100 girls of primary school age there were only thirty in school; among girls of secondary school age, only thirteen out of 100 were in school; and among girls of the third level, grades nine and ten, only 1.5 out of 100 were in school. Slightly higher estimates by the National Education Council for 1990 stated that 2.5 percent of students--3 percent of men and 2 percent of women- -between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one were enrolled at the degree level. Among all people over twenty-five in 1992, women averaged a mere 0.7 year of schooling compared with an average of 2.9 years for men.
Pakistan has never had an organized, nationally matching effort to get better female prime education, in spite of its poor standing. It was once implicit that the reasons behind low female school enrollments were cultural, but research conducted by the Ministry for Women's Development and a number of international donor agencies in the 1980s revealed that danger to a woman's honor was parents' most crucial concern. Indeed, reluctance to accept schooling for women turned to enthusiasm when parents in rural Punjab and rural Balochistan could be guaranteed their daughters' safety and, hence, their honor.
If we analyze women’s education with Islamic point of view, we have several precedence where we have been strongly emphasized by our religion for the promotion of education among women. A literate mother can grow up her children in an appropriate way, she can be well aware about the family planning. The major problem which we are facing regarding the illiteracy of our population is the illiteracy of the mothers. A literate mother will never let her children to be involved in child labor; she will never let them grow up spontaneously. She will strive for their betterment by working, earning and grooming them by using her own education. In a successful family the vital role is of an educated lady, she will plan her family in a proper way, organize and arrange the resources to improve it, and help her husband in meeting day to day responsibilities.
Investing in women resource is a strategic investment, which will trickle down its effect in long term. If we invest today then after some years we will be in a position to say goodbye to poverty. After centuries of research the social scientists have come to a conclusion that responding economic crises in conventional way cannot eradicate poverty from its roots, there are a lot of other unconventional ways which effects indirectly but very efficiently. It has been 62 years since Pakistan came into existence; still we are trying to solve our basic poverty problems. The governmental and nongovernmental organizations have been struggling at their most to induce the basic attentiveness among the people regarding population control measures. Population is an entity which cannot be curtailed overnight; it has to be controlled in a manner that the birth rate can be brought up to the desired level. The birth rate should be very compatible with the existing resources of Pakistan. This responsibility not only lies on the shoulders of the government, we are in need of individual assumption of responsibility. When the individuals will start realizing about their resources and consumers (Family Members) they will cognitively plan their families. Thus, in a broader way the whole country can be improved.
Around 70% of the population of Pakistan resides in rural area, where the basic facilities are scarce. The priority of a local villager is not at all the education of his children. Women are engaged mostly in household works, they have very little to do with the decisions regarding their family particularly the family planning. The Husband very hardly bothers to seek his wife’s opinion regarding the planning of their immediate family. The major reason behind, is the illiteracy of the women, as they do not have enough exposure regarding current situation of Pakistan, due to inaccessibility of print as well as electronic media, they are hardly sent to schools. There are a minor number of women who are permitted by their families to go to colleges and universities. In such circumstances how can we expect from a woman to grow up her children in a suitable way.
Pakistan belongs to the group of third world countries, in such nations we have very few resources and unfortunately we invest very little on education and human resource development. Due to such turmoil we have most of our population uneducated remained with us. We have a lot of international examples from third world countries like, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka etc, these countries have invested on human capital and getting long-term returns.
In order to respond to such problems and maintain as well as develop know-how regarding population problems every year UNITED NATION POPULATION FUND, has been arranging world population day on 11th of July since 1965. The basic reason for such program is to spread awareness among the people in third world countries regarding fight against poverty. Literacy is at the basis of educational progress and the eradication of illiteracy among women is seen as one of the prerequisites of human development. Moreover, functional literacy needs in the modern world are high when we talk about literacy now; we need to include the aptitude to admittance of scientific and technological knowledge. Educational success is mediated through literacy and usually outcome in positions of supremacy within society.
Investments in education and health for women substantially increase productivity of the whole mass, farming yields, and nationwide income, all of which contribute to the achievement of the Managed Population. Investments by governments worldwide have boosted school admission rates, and promoted the prevention of deadly diseases like malaria, tuber clauses and HIV Aids. Our individuals as well as governmental and nongovernmental agencies have to prioritize investments for the well being of women in Pakistan.
Author: Muhammad Uzair Hashmi, (Free Lance Human Resource Specialist)
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