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The Challenges Ahead for Girls' Education in Pakistan

Responding to the good news that Malala Yousafzai’s recovery continues to progress, Isobel Coleman paints a bit of a bleak picture for Yousafzai’s stated goal of education for every girl in Pakistan:

The statistics are appalling. In 1981, 45 percent of male youth (15 to 24) in Pakistan were literate, versus only 24 percent of female youth—a literacy gap of 21 points. Since that time, while overall literacy rates have improved, Pakistan’s gender gap has barely budged. In 2009, 79 percent of male youth were literate, but only 61 percent of female youth—a literacy gap of 18 points.

The contrast with Bangladesh’s numbers from the same period is particularly damning.