Roshaneh Zafar, founder and managing director of Kashf Foundation and founder of Kashf Microfinance Bank Limited based in Pakistan, writes for The International Herald Tribune on the economics of gender equality.
"...In many countries, gender inequality persists in terms of economic opportunities, earnings and productivity for women. Pakistan is no different in this respect: women comprise 75 per cent of the labour force in agriculture, essentially working as unpaid and unrecognised farm workers, while the female employment rate in industry and services is 12 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
Economically, this translates into lower incomes and less market opportunities for female labour and the gains of education do not seem to permeate into better job options for women as a whole. There are several reasons behind the persistence of such disparities. Even though women have made phenomenal gains in higher education, the overall enrolment of girls in primary and secondary schools remains much lower than boys. Lack of access to education limits market opportunities for adult females, who then tend to seek self employment in the informal sector, where they end up working harder than men but earning less since they usually work in less profitable sectors..."
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