Literacy rate among adult women 25pc less than men

RAWALPINDI, Sept 6: The adult female illiteracy rate in the country is over 25 percentage points higher than that of males, according to a report released by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The percentage points of the overall illiteracy between both male and female are 23.3 per cent for males and 46.9 per cent for females.

In the adult population, the this percentage is 35.9 per cent for males and 64.9 per cent for females, according to the 'Key Indicators of the Labour Market (KILM),' released by ILO, the UN labour agency on Wednesday.

The illiteracy rate in adults is higher than those among the youth, which indicates a positive, suggests the report.

Recent government statistics tell that the total number of female students enrolled was around 14 million, compared to 19 million male students. Among girl, 5.3 million were at the primary, 3.129 million at the middle and 4.02 million at the secondary level.

In recent years, literacy levels in Pakistan have improved. The overall literacy rate (age over 10 years) was 45 per cent in 2001 but increased to 54 per cent in 2005-06, indicating a 9.0 percentage point increase in five years, according to an official survey.

The ILO report says the Asian region saw a substantial reduction in the number of workers living on less than one dollar a day; the number of working poor decreased by 148 million between 1996 and 2006, representing a drop of nearly 50 per cent.

Literacy is defined as "the skills to read and write a simple sentence about everyday life." Semi-literate's -those who can read but not write- are sometimes erroneously clubbed together with the definition of literates as well and counted.

Those persons whose literacy level is not known are excluded.

Data seem to show that the economically active population is no longer biased towards highly educated males. On the contrary, in most countries, a higher proportion of the female labour force has attained higher education.

But the large share of highly educated women, in the labour force, is not necessarily a sign of progress in the fight for equality in the world of work. It only means that better educated women were more likely to be economically active. Economic empowerment and education often go hand in hand; women who are restricted in their education opportunities are likely to be those who are restricted in their choice to work.

Men in the labour force were also slightly more likely than women to have attained only primary education, whereas the distribution of persons with secondary education was fairly equal between both genders. Dawn

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