Discrimination represents a significant social problem in Pakistan as well as throughout the world. Girls face discrimination everywhere in the world. They often receive less food than boys do, have less access to schooling and work long hours. Why can’t we see the helpless agony of girls in our society? In societies where a male child is regarded as more valuable to the family, girls often are denied the right of life, denied the right to name and nationality. And by being married off early or forced to stay at home and help in domestic chores, girls are often denied the right to education and all the advantages that go with it, the right to associate freely and the rights that come with having liberty. These all are ways of basic humiliation from family to girls when boys are regarded as the pillars of tomorrow. The Global Gender Gap Report 2016 compiled by the World Economic Forum ranks countries on gender gap and includes factors such as economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. The report has ranked Pakistan 143 out of 144 countries. Unfortunately, Pakistan has not only fared particularly poorly in 2016, but its rankings have deteriorated fora decade. Comparing Pakistan’s performance in the South Asian region, India has done much better being ranked 87 out of 144 countries. Pakistan is also the worst performing state in South Asia and has been for the last couple of years, while Sri Lanka ranks 100th, Nepal 110th, the Maldives 115th and Bhutan 121st. Investing in women’s health and education has spillover benefits to other members of the household as well. Recent research has pointed out that good maternal health benefits children’s cognitive development, behaviour and school performance as well as improving the health and productivity of other family members The only country ranked below Pakistan is Yemen (144), while Syria is one place ahead at 142. Pakistan ranked 112th in 2006, the first year of the report. Since then, its position has been deteriorating every year. Pakistan ranked 135th in 2013, 141st in 2014 and 143rd in 2015. The report captures progress towards parity between men and women in four areas: educational attainment, health and survival, economic opportunity and political empowerment. It is obvious but worth stating that women cannot enter the workforce and contribute to the economy’s productivity without a proper environment of education, training and health is in place. There are several gender discrimination related consequences of child labour as well. Most obvious are the problems faced by girls who have been sexually exploited. Also girls working as child domestic workers are often denied medical treatment when required since they are domestic help and do not share the same status as the other children in the household. Children who suffer an accident at work may also feel that this is their own fault for being clumsy or bad at their job, and the adults and medical personnel who they encounter may have the same attitude. Education is the tool that can help break the pattern of gender discrimination and bring lasting changes for women in developing countries like ours. Pakistan has for decades grossly underinvested in education, and in particular, girls’ education. Girls’ education also means comprehensive change for a society. Educated women are essential to ending gender bias, starting by reducing the poverty that makes discrimination even worse in the developing world. Investing in women’s health and education also has spillover benefits to other members of the household. Recent research has pointed out that good maternal health benefits children’s cognitive development, behaviour and school performance as well as improving the health and productivity of other family members. In summary, there’s little good news and too much bad news. We’re talking about half of the world’s population. Waiting several lifetimes for women to reach their full potential is clearly too long. Fortunately, the countries with the smallest gender gaps vary in income, location and lifestyle providing a hopeful sign that any country can achieve gender parity. The writer is a freelance journalist associated with the development sector. He can be reached on email@example.com twitter: @mqesar Published in Daily Times, September 27th 2017.