Much has been written on gender and access to education, mostly discussing the stark gender inequalities with regard to education in many countries. It has been little noticed that cultural heritage and ethnic diversity play a significant role mediating these gender inequalities. This chapter aims to look at the ethnic differentiation with regard to attitudes to girls’ education in Pakistan. It challenges the established wisdom that poorer families prefer to educate boys rather than girls. With regard to equity, an argument has so far prevailed that poor parents, especially in rural and urban areas, tend to favor educating boys more than girls since Pakistan is a traditional, patriarchal, and largely Muslim society (Khalid and Mujahid-Mukhtar 2002: 30–31; Qureshi 2003: 14, 52–53). It is argued that rates of return are better for boys or that families are too poor to send both boys and girls to school (Aslam 2007). There is a feeling that unless profound structural changes take place across society, the Pakistani government education policies will have tried in vain to alter the gender disparity.
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