Forman Christian College
This is an excerpt from the Forman Christian College newsletter, which can be found at www.formanfriends.org:
There are millions of girls and women in Pakistan who yearn for a chance at even the most rudimentary education. In Pakistan today, less than half the women of the country are literate and that rate falls below 25% in most rural areas. In some places, women’s education is opposed by groups like the Taliban, and in others, simply ignored.
Forman Christian College is a working to recruit more female students to all university programs. We also have a vital outreach to women in areas where there are no options for higher education. Studies have shown that the key to better health, better commerce, and better, happier communities is educating women and involving them in the lives of their community. Educating women, especially in Pakistan, is one way that Forman Christian College is truly helping to change the world. When the United Nations came out with its Millennium Development Goals in 2007, educating women and striving toward equality for them around the globe was a top priority. “Girls who have been educated are likely to marry later and to have smaller and healthier families. Educated women can recognize the importance of health care and know how to seek it for themselves and their children. Education helps girls and women to know their rights and to gain confidence to claim them. However, women’s literacy rates are significantly lower than men’s in most developing countries.”
This is certainly true in Pakistan. Figures vary, but estimates of the number of functionally literate women in Pakistan range from 12% to 40% (functionally literate means you can read a newspaper and write an informal letter) as compared to 25% to 60% for men. The actual rate for women appears to be between 20% to 25%, with the highest rates (40-45%) in the cities. UN studies show that these low literacy rates have a tremendous negative impact on the quality of life for everyone in a nation. “The educational achievements of women can have ripple effects within the family and across generations. Investing in girls’ education is one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty. Investments in secondary school education for girls yield especially high dividends.”
This is one reason why we, at Forman Christian College and Friends of Forman, have become so focused on women’s education. We believe that one of the most important factors in addressing Pakistan’s many problems is to raise the standard for education for women. Indeed, this one thing - women’s education - is being revealed as a key in building peaceful, flourishing societies.
Dr. Robert Johnson, Executive Director, Friends of Forman Christian College