Access or beyond access? Unpacking gender and gender equity in Gilgit-Baltistan eduacation strategy

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy in Education


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Gilgit-Baltistan developed its long-term education strategy, the Gilgit-Baltistan Education Strategy (GBES), during 2008- 2014 with gender equity as an important goal. The current qualitative study used standpoint feminist theoretical lens and critical discourse analysis to explore the understanding of gender and gender equity in GBES. The participants for this study were the strategy developers and educationists including teachers and teacher educators from different districts of Gilgit-Baltistan. Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were used as data collection strategies. The study highlights the complexity in understanding the concepts; gender and gender equity and discusses how surface level understandings of these concepts employed in education policy can lead to the policy development which, despite all the good intentions, remains non-inclusive. The findings suggest that GBES frames girls' education important for economic efficiency and access to schools and this is considered an automatic and linear solution towards this end. Education is proposed to ensure girls' preparation for their future nurturing role and, hence, to maintain their reproductive work's status quo. The study suggests that women's participation in policy formulation can help in better conceptualization of gender equity strategies in and through education. It is proposed that education policy aim at societal transformation, helping girls and boys understand their positions in the power structure and enable girls to question their subordinate position. Equity measures at the institutional level are required to deal with the systemic structural barriers which prevent girls' access to and participation in education. The study also recommends women's inclusion in equity based policy and program planning to bring their voice in the mainstream equity discourse as women' knowledge and experiences are authentic and needs to be counted in education policy making and implementation process.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library