At a recent Islamabad event organized as part of the World Bank's "Girls Learn, Women Earn" campaign, Mr. Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, said increasing years of schooling helps women become more productive members of society.
Pakistan Labor Force survey provides information on the country's labor force characteristics. It is based on a representative sample of 43,361 urban and rural households. For this purpose, total sample size is evenly distributed into four sub samples, each to be enumerated in a given quarter.
|Mean Years of Schooling in Pakistan. Source: Labor Force Survey 2017-18|
As of 2017-18, the overall literacy rate in Pakistan is 62.3%. Among males above age 10, 72.5% are literate. Females in the same age group are at 51.8%, trailing 20.7% behind their male counterparts. The percentage of women participating in the labor force is 24.9 as compared to 82.7 for men.
|History of Literacy in Pakistan|
|Educational Attainment in Pakistan. Source: Labor Force Survey 2017-18|
At a recent Islamabad event organized as part of the World Bank's "Girls Learn, Women Earn" campaign, Mr. Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, said increasing years of schooling helps women become more productive members of society. He said: “Every additional year of schooling for a girl increases her future earnings by up to 10%. Pakistan can use the untapped economic potential of women in the workforce and estimates indicate this can boost the economy by up to 30%, by empowering women and girls to expand their skills, access to information, mobility, and access to finance and assets.”
|Increasing Years of Schooling Leads to Women Having Fewer Babies|
Prime Minister Imran Khan's government has launched two programs with the aim of particularly helping underprivileged women: Ehsaas and Kifaalat. These programs are headed by Dr. Sania Nishtar, a highly accomplished woman named special assistant to the prime minister. Speaking at "Girls Learn, Women Earn", Dr. Nishtar said:
“Government of Pakistan’s Ehsaas program has a very serious intent to drive forward the agenda of women empowerment. Ehsaas stringently follows fifty percent rule across the board for women inclusion in all Ehsaas initiatives including interest free loans, scholarships and asset transfers".
"Likewise, Kafaalat that has recently been launched by the Prime Minister will ensure financial and digital inclusion of 7 million disadvantaged women across Pakistan who will now benefit from the monthly stipend of Rs. 2,000 along with access to bank accounts and affordable smart phones,” she added.
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Pakistan launches national socioeconomic registry
The World Bank (WB) also congratulated Ehsaas for completing South Asia’s first digital National Socio-Economic Registry survey.
WB Country Director Najy Benhassine, while speaking at the ceremony, said, “I congratulate the Government of Pakistan and Ehsaas on achieving this historical milestone.” He said that the bank feels proud to be the technical partner in this “game-changer survey”.
“This is not just Pakistan’s but also South Asia’s first digitally-enabled socioeconomic census. It will be really transformative that the registry will now facilitate data sharing for social protection programmes of the federal government, provinces, government departments and development agencies,” he added.
Director-General Naveed Akbar outlined the design, end-to-end digital methodology, approaches and rigorous transparency measures embedded in the execution of the survey.
UNRC Resident Coordinator Julien Harneis, Secretary Ismat Tahira, and senior representatives of government departments, Asian Development Bank (ADB), development partners and media professionals also attended the event.
Ehsaas, the flagship welfare programme of the government, successfully accomplished a countrywide National Socioeconomic Registry Survey which includes households’ information in terms of geographic data, demographics, socioeconomic status, education, health, disability, employment, energy consumption, assets, communications, agri-landholdings, WASH, livestock, etc.
Ehsaas conducted a door-to-door computer-aided survey all across the country to gather data about the socioeconomic status of households. In conclusion, this will be the most reliable dataset for the use of public sector institutions, think tanks and development agencies for designing social protection and poverty alleviation programmes.
The data sharing will be steered through the Cognitive API Architecture approach. There will be two-way data sharing; agencies with whom data will be shared will also be required to update the registry with their own information.
Addressing the launch ceremony, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Senator Dr Sania Nishtar said, “Part of Ehsaas strategy, we have just concluded a new National Socioeconomic Registry of 34.41 million households. We did various validations of the data to precisely identify the real poor.”
“With the readiness of survey, we are now transiting from static to dynamic registry to make it more targeting efficient and to avoid possible inclusion and exclusion errors occurred due to continuous change in socioeconomic status of the households especially due to demographic change,” the SAPM said. “Tehsil-level Ehsaas Registration Desks have also been opened all over the country to keep the national socioeconomic registry dynamic.”
Pakistan’s generational shift
By Dr Ayesha RazzaqueMay 22, 2022
In this generation only 18.7 per cent of rural women are without an education, down from 75.5 per cent from their mothers’ generation. Nearly 50 per cent have an education ranging from a primary to secondary education, up from just 20 per cent in the previous generation. A stunning 22.9 per cent have a higher secondary or above education, up from an almost nothing 0.3 per cent in their previous generation.
Last year saw the publication of ‘Womansplaining – Navigating Activism, Politics and Modernity in Pakistan,’ a book edited by Federal Minister Sherry Rehman to which I was able to contribute a chapter. It connected education with women’s rights and argued that indigenous movements like the Aurat March should focus on education as a core part of their agenda.
Detractors of Pakistan’s women’s rights movement have been taking potshots at it by claiming that the issues it raises are not the issues of ‘real’ (read: rural) women. Put aside for a minute the fact that Pakistan’s rural population now accounts for 62 per cent, down from 72 per cent in 1980, and is on a steady decline. While the numbers may differ, and women’s power to negotiate may differ, rural and urban women share basic challenges and better education can yield similar opportunities and improvements in life circumstances.
Indigenous progressive and women’s rights movements have adopted the cause of education as an agenda item but should make it front and center, specifically K-12 education for girls in rural areas. New data further substantiates that connection with numbers. Education up to the higher secondary level, just the education that rural schools offer today, is the enabler that brings increased women’s labour force participation, delayed first marriage, lower rates of consanguinity, increased income, increased spousal income, and is a contributing factor to greater freedom of movement and communication – all positives.
Studies exploring the relationships between levels of education and life circumstances around the world are plentiful and capture the situation at a point and place in time. The Learning and Educational Achievements in Pakistan Schools (LEAPS) programme is qualitatively different because it already spans a period of almost two decades. The LEAPS programme has been tracking lower- and middle-income households in 120 randomly selected villages across three districts in rural Punjab since 2003. It has been revisiting them since then, most recently for the sixth time in 2018, roughly once every three years. That makes it one of the largest and longest panels of households in lower- and middle-income countries. This study is also unique as it looks at return on investment in education beyond an individual’s income and looks into the possible spillover into life circumstances and quality-of-life which is especially interesting for those interested in women empowerment and feminist movements.
In this latest round it surveyed 2006 women now aged 20-30. All these women were from the same 120 birth villages and have been tracked to their marital homes within or outside the village if they have married, migrated or moved for any other reason. Preliminary descriptive results of the long-running LEAPS study tell interesting stories. The headline finding of LEAPS investigators is that Pakistan is in the midst of a ‘generational shift’ where, for the first time in its education history, we have a ‘critical mass of moderately educated women’.
Existing plans, at least in the domain of education, remain unguided by some of the very excellent evidence that is available. Meanwhile, the Planning Commission is organizing a ‘Turnaround Pakistan’ conference perhaps as early as May 28 to conduct national consultations. Whether a hurriedly thrown together conference can change the way business is done remains to be seen.
So, in 2020-21 for every hundred rupees that employed men earn, women earn around eighty-one rupees. This is up from women earning seventy rupees for every hundred rupees that men earned in 2018-19. (Labor Force Survey 2020-21)
Using ILO’s framework, the gender pay gap in agriculture in Pakistan is still very high—36.24 percent. The good news is that this is lower than 2018, when the gender pay gap was 40.69 percent. To put another way, in 2020-21, for every hundred rupees that men employed in the agriculture sector earn, women earn around sixty-three rupees only. This is up from women earning fifty-nine rupees for every hundred rupees that men in the agriculture sector earned in 2018-19. Again, while the gender pay gap is atrociously high, over the period of analysis it has declined and that is an absolutely positive achievement. The overall gender wage gap has almost halved over the period of analysis. So, in 2020-21 for every hundred rupees that employed men earn, women earn around eighty-one rupees. This is up from women earning seventy rupees for every hundred rupees that men earned in 2018-19.
This report paints a rosy picture of the labour force in Pakistan. But some macroeconomic issues continue to manifest. Low LFPR among the youth, urban unemployment which exerts additional pressure on the cities, gender pay gaps and disproportionate size of the informal economy. Moving forward, serious attention has to be paid on generating meaningful employment across the country, specifically in KP which has the highest rate of unemployment.
Pakistan Labor Force Survey (LFS) 2020-21
Literacy rate goes up (62.4%, 62.8%) more in case of males (73.0%, 73.4%) than females
(51.5%, 51.9%). Area-wise rates suggest increase in rural (53.7%, 54.0%) and in urban
(76.1%, 77.3%). Male-female disparity seems to be narrowing down with the time span.
Literacy rate goes up in all provinces: KP (52.4%, 55.1%), Sindh (61.6%, 61.8%), Balochistan
(53.9%, 54.5%) and in Punjab (66.1%, 66.3%) during the comparative periods
an average monthly wages of overall paid employees is of Rs.24028
per month while the median monthly wages is Rs. 18000 per month. . However, gender
disparities were obvious in the mean monthly wages gap between males and females of Rs.
4526 in favour of males. Based on median monthly wages, the gap, still in favour of males, is
Rs. 6,900. The above table also shows that irrespective of occupation both mean and median
monthly wages of males are higher than those of females
4.20 Major Industry Divisions: Occupational Safety and Health
Mainly, the sufferers belong to agriculture (29.3%), construction (19.7%), manufacturing
(19.1%), wholesale & retail trade (13.7%) and transport/storage & communication (10.2%).
Female injuries in agriculture sectors are more than twice (61.7%) than that of male injuries
(26.3%). In manufacturing, female injuries (24.7%) and Community, social and personal services
(8.9%) are more than male injuries (18.6%) and (6.5%) respectively. Contrarily, males are
more vulnerable in the remaining groups. Comparative risk profiles run down for major
industries grouping while gain stream for manufacturing, transport, storage & communication
and community, social & personnel services.
Pakistan Labor Force Survey 2020-21
Refined Activity (Participation) Rate (%)
Pakistan Total 44.9 Male 67.9 Female 21.4
Rural 48.6 Male 69.1 Female 28.0
Urban Male 65.9 Female 10.0
The average expected years of schooling in Pakistan is 8.5 years. In comparison it is 11.2 years in Bangladesh and 12.3 years in India. Pakistan has performed poorly even on inequality adjusted human development, as well as gender development and equality compared with the regional countries.
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