There are competing explanations for the persistence of the education gender gap in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPK). Three reasons are given for this persistence, specifically parental and societal attitudes opposed to girls’ education and women’s employment outside the home; a lack of both family and public resources; and low labor market returns to women’s education. We seek to contribute to this debate by analyzing the results of a survey of a random sample of 642 families in the Dir District of KPK with a high-school-aged girl that attended at least some primary school. Our study shows that guardians of a high school aged girl, irrespective of the guardian’s gender, report very strong support for girls’ education and for women’s careers outside the home. These findings contradict the widespread belief that the persistence of the education gender gap in KPK is due to parental or societal attitudes opposed to girls’ education and women’s careers. Rather than parental attitudes opposed to girls’ education, respondents report that the lack of family resources is an important impediment to girls’ school attendance. To test the authenticity of the expressions of strong support for girls’ education, we examine the ability of the survey responses to predict girls’ school attendance beyond the 5th class by estimating a model of the determinants of girls’ school attendance beyond the 5th class.
Cyan, Musharraf; Rider, Mark; Price, Michael; and Roberts, Stephanie J., "What Accounts for the Education Gender Gap in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province?" (2019). ICEPP Working Papers. 148.