Education is a key to success. It is a fundamental human right. Education, as a human right, means that the right to education is legally guaranteed for all without any discrimination and states have the obligation to protect, respect, and fulfil the right to education. Hereby, I just want to highlight for my readers that Pakistan was described as “among the world’s worst performing countries in education,” at the Oslo Summit on Education and Development. Approximately 22.5 million children are out of school. Girls are particularly affected. Thirty-two per cent of primary school-age girls are out of school in Pakistan, compared to 21 per cent of boys. By grade six, 59 per cent of girls are out of school, versus 49 per cent of boys. Only 13 per cent of girls are still in school by ninth grade. Both boys and girls are missing out on education in unacceptable numbers, but girls are worst affected. Across all provinces, generation after generation of children, especially girls, are locked out of education-and into poverty. While visiting different communities in Sindh, I talked with several girls and their desire for education, their wish to “be someone,” and how these dreams had been crushed by being unable to study. The lack of access to education for girls is part of a broader landscape of gender inequality in Pakistan. The country has one of Asia’s highest rates of maternal mortality. Violence against women and girls-including rape, so-called “honour” killings and violence, acid attacks, domestic violence, forced marriage and child marriage-is a serious problem, and government responses are inadequate. Pakistani activists estimate that there are about 1,000 honour killings every year. Twenty-one per cent of females marries as children. Lack of access to education is part of a broader landscape of gender inequality in Pakistan. Even with the demand for girls’ education increasing across the country, girls face more barriers to their education than boys due to gendered social norms. Furthermore, there are not enough free, quality schools with female teachers to adequately educate Pakistan’s girls. The lack of girls’ secondary schools and poor quality of education that does not promise economic returns puts pressure on families to marry their daughters off at an early age or send them into domestic or paid labour. Some families do not believe that girls should be educated or they believe girls should not study beyond a certain age. Attitudes regarding girls’ education vary significantly across different communities. Many people, however, describe the growing acceptance of the value of girls’ education, even in conservative communities; the government should encourage this change. For many parents, the most fundamental barrier to sending their children to school is poverty. Children-usually girls-are kept home to do housework in the family home or are employed as domestic workers. Poverty also results in early marriages of girls: in Pakistan, 21 per cent of girls marry before the age of 18, and three per cent marry before the age of 15. I strongly believe that female education in Pakistan has never received much attention from successive governments, apart from developing policies and plans on paper. However, the overall education system in Pakistan has suffered from copious inadequacies, from a dismal allocation of financial resources required, to establish a countrywide network of good schools, to the development of a cadre of teachers who are committed to their profession. The education sector has been symbolised by poor infrastructure, an unmotivated and incompetent teaching workforce, a disinterested student populace and disenchanted parents. Of the four provinces, Sindh has the second-highest number of total out-of-school females followed by KPK and Balochistan. However, Sindh has the highest contribution of 36 per cent to the national figure of primary female out-of-school children, followed by Punjab 30 per cen for the same level. Interestingly, the Constitutional amendment (Article 25A) makes education a fundamental right for the citizens of Pakistan. The article states “the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.” But this particular article is not being implemented in true letter and spirit. Across all provinces generation after generation of children, especially girls, are locked out of education-and into poverty. I interviewed several girls and they talked again and again about their desire for education, their wish to “be someone,” and how these dreams had been crushed by being unable to study. The lack of access to education for girls is part of a broader landscape of gender inequality in Pakistan. The country has one of Asia’s highest rates of maternal mortality. Violence against women and girls-including rape, so-called “honour” killings and violence, acid attacks, domestic violence, forced marriage and child marriage-is a serious problem, and government responses are inadequate. Pakistani activists estimate that there are about 1,000 honour killings every year. Twenty-one per cent of females marries as children. Saira Ahmed, a young social activist said, empowering girls and women through quality education is the smartest investment for breaking the poverty cycle and achieving social justice. The fact highlights the need for educating women folk on a priority basis, as only education could give this oppressed segment of society freedom from injustice and slavery of oppressive forces.” Assistant Professor Ali Raza Lashari believes that there is, “a high need for quality education financing for schools. Global funders and local investors need to actively play a role in making resources available to build middle and higher secondary schools, at the public as well as private sector levels. Girls’ education should be incentivized by subsidizing school fees or by providing stipends at every level. Awareness of the importance of educating women and girls and the impact it has on family needs to be raised.” I would recommend Pakistani government increase its education spending to provide enough schools and teachers to enrol out-of-school children and to provide better quality education to the children already enrolled in school. Moreover, given the disparity in the provision of infrastructure for boys and girls, the government needs to ensure an equitable approach to resource allocation towards girls’ education. Importantly, the implementation of a law that prohibits child marriages will eliminate the barrier of early marriages to girls’ education in Pakistan. The writer is a social and political activist based in Lahore. He can be reached at email@example.com, and tweets at Salmani_salu.