Gender Gap in Literacy Worst in India and Pakistan
Beyond basic necessities like food and shelter, few things matter more than education — which begins with achieving literacy. However, in many parts of the world, literacy disparities between the genders have devastating consequences not just for the equality of the sexes, but also for women's economic prospects. We wonder: Which of the following major countries or regions has the largest gap between the literacy rates of adult men and women?
A. Latin America
B. Arab states
C. Sub-Saharan Africa
Latin America is not correct.
In Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole, literacy — defined as the ability to read and write a simple statement on one's daily life — is high, averaging 91 percent. The region has also accomplished considerable gender equality, with the literacy rate for men only 1 percentage point above that for women. Brazil, Latin America's most populous country, also has a high adult literacy rate, at 90 percent — and Argentina's is even higher, at 98 percent.
Arab states is not correct.
With an overall literacy rate of just 71 percent, literacy in Arab states significantly lags that in Latin America. In addition, men in that region are significantly more likely to be literate than women, with a male literacy rate of 80 percent and that of females at just 62 percent. The literacy gap is especially large in Yemen, at 37 percentage points. In comparison, the gap stands at 17 percentage points in Egypt and 10 points in Saudi Arabia.
Sub-Saharan Africa is not correct.
Sub-Saharan Africa's overall literacy rate is 62 percent, with women's literacy (54 percent) lagging that of men (71 percent) by 17 percentage points — an indicator of considerable discrimination in providing access to primary education. Too often, when family resources to pay for education are scarce, the choice is made to send boys to school — and few, if any, girls. In the region's largest country, Nigeria, overall performance stands at 72 percent — considerably better than that of sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. And yet, with men's literacy 16 percentage points higher than women's, it also discriminates against women in this respect.
India is correct.
Despite India's high-tech successes, the country lags in providing all its citizens with basic education. With an overall adult literacy rate of only 66 percent, India lags significantly behind China (93 percent), according to data from UNESCO. In addition, at 77 percent, men in India have a literacy rate that is 22 percentage points higher than that of women (55 percent). India's literacy gender gap is thus worse than the average gap of 18 percentage points in the world's least-developed countries.
Source: San Jose Mercury News
Note: Pakistan's gender gap of 27% in literacy is worse than India's 22%. At overall literacy rate of only 52%, and with more than 50 million people illiterate, Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in Asia. The literacy rate for males over 15 years is 63% while that for females is 36% in Pakistan. Only Yemen's literacy rate and gender gap is worse than South Asia's.
UNESCO Literacy Report
Female Genocide Unfolding in India
Challenges of Indian Democracy
Status of Women in Pakistan