The attack against 15 years old Pakistani activist, Malala Yousoufzai, shot in the head last October by the Talibans in Swat Valley, reveals the desperate struggle for girls’ education in Pakistan.
Estimates state that the literacy rate for girls between 15 to 24 years old in Pakistan is 61 percents while boys literacy reaches 79 percents. The general female adult population literacy would be 40 percents. The situation is worst in rural areas where both genders are affected by illiteracy. Poverty and family organization would be the main reasons that keep girls out of school. Families who can’t afford to pay school books and uniforms for all their children would rather send only their boys to school, as they will traditionnally become the breadwinner of the family while the girls would get married and live with their husband’s relatives.
In the tribal areas of Pakistan (close to the Afghan border) and in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, only 20% of students would females. The Taliban well-known opposition to girls education dissuade many parents from sending their daughter to school from the fear they get attacked.