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Sexual and reproductive education in Pakistan

Interview Young Leaders with Women Deliver

Photo of Zhongyuan Ding
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Background: 

I have talked with one of Young Leaders, Laraib Abid. Young leaders Women Deliver program is a great platform where people from across the globe who are working basically on the same agenda comes together share experiences and the solutions they have been applying in their countries to work globally . Laraib is from Pakistan. She is a social worker and women rights activist. She did her masters in gender studies because she wanted to do more for the women of her country. She also lead a national campaign named My Rights My Voice by Oxfam novib where they targeted rural and urban areas on Pakistan and talked about puberty issues, family planning and sexual and reproductive rights. For them these things are totally new and a cultural shock so Laraib want to break this stereotypical thinking in their minds. She started her own campaign named MASHAL (Arabic word which means light) (www.beamashal.com) (Making A Society Healthier and Lively).

Interview: 

We primary focus on the condition of sexual and reproductive education in Pakistan. Actually, the sexual education for youth in Pakistan is not mature yet. There are two reasons for that.

The first reason is behavior of Non-government Organization. There are some groups who have different views are very influential in Islamic country. Such groups are not always okay with what we believe such as women rights and reproductive education. In Pakistan, NGOs are a western agenda. What NGOs teach is against islam or so called liberalism. So they have no sex education in Pakistan and this is also a reason for child sexual abuse because most of the times they do not have the idea what going on with them.  

The second reason is culture, or we can say it is social pressure. From society there is definitely a backlash. There are still some relatives think Laraib study social science because she got poor grades in high school. However, she was a topper in her school. It means the society has bias for her major.

From Laraib’s view, government behavior is one of the solutions for Pakistan’s sexual education. Government should make sexual education compulsory in the schools; and also promote sexual education in society and make it cultural friendly. Seminar and training are good campaigns to promote sexual education.

My thoughts:

The poor sexual education in Pakistan will also happen in many developing countries. The main barrier is culture bias. In many culture, sex cannot be talked in public. If we want to improve the condition, primary school education is very important.

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Photo of Kevin Xie

Thank you for your contribution!
Perhaps there is some way we can change the view of the groups or show them that sexual/reproductive health education is not necessarily a western agenda but much needed information to produce a better lifestyle.