Higher education and women’s empowerment in Pakistan

This paper summarises the findings of a 2005 doctoral study which explored to what extent participation in higher education offers empowerment to women in Pakistan. A survey instrument was used to question female faculty members and female students from 10 public universities in Pakistan; 1290 students and 290 faculty members responded. Subsequently, semi-structured interviews were held with 10 faculty members and 10 students. Respondents highlighted economic independence and an increased standing within family and society as the main benefits of higher education participation. A major finding is that participation in higher education enables women to impact on a number of discriminatory practices simultaneously and thereby effect change for the better. The main recommendation is that future educational strategies be developed with the aim of further promoting gender equality in all areas of education in Pakistan, but particularly with the aim of increasing female students’ participation in higher education.

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