Silent voices, untold stories: perceptions of female students towards their own experiences and higher educational opportunities in Peshawar, Khyber Pukhtunkhwah (KP) (Pakistan)

PhD thesis


Khattak, S. 2014. Silent voices, untold stories: perceptions of female students towards their own experiences and higher educational opportunities in Peshawar, Khyber Pukhtunkhwah (KP) (Pakistan). PhD thesis Middlesex University School of Health and Education
TypePhD thesis
TitleSilent voices, untold stories: perceptions of female students towards their own experiences and higher educational opportunities in Peshawar, Khyber Pukhtunkhwah (KP) (Pakistan)
AuthorsKhattak, S.
Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to investigate factors relating to the low level of women’s participation in higher education in Khyber Pukhtunkhwah (KP) a particularly conservative and traditionalist region of Pakistan, adjoining Afghanistan. The province of Khyber Pukhtunkhwah has a culture, language, traditions and patriarchal values that are substantially different from the rest of the country. There is a chronically low participation rate in higher education by women (6.55%) as opposed to men (28.44%). For this research, a mixed methods approach was used founded on Marxist and Islamic Feminist research paradigms, interviewing and questioning students in four higher education institutes in Peshawar, KP, using a research design that included both quantitative and qualitative methods. The data analysis reveals that the women who succeed in entering higher education actually have social / economic advantages; they are in general from the elite and the upper middle classes. However, even they face problems relating to the particularly conservative understandings and practices of Islam that are culturally specific to KP/ Pukhtun culture as these were dominant in forming their decisions rather than the actual teachings of Islam. Attitudes towards women’s work and the language of instruction used in their education had implications for their educational opportunities Women of all economic classes had difficulty with being allowed to reach decisions on their own: they had to seek approval from their families, particularly from their male relatives. Men (and women) misinterpreted the teachings of religion, in other words they ‘culturalised’ Islam instead of Islamising the culture. One of the aims of this thesis is ‘Breaking the Silence: Listening to Pukhtun Women’. This thesis does this as it gives voice to (a number of) Pukhtun women, concerning their lives, hopes, anticipations, relating to education and career. However, this is just a beginning and much more research needs to occur in order to allow better understanding of the lives and aspirations of women in this area of Pakistan.

Department nameSchool of Health and Education
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print14 Jul 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited14 Jul 2014
Completed21 May 2014
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
LanguageEnglish
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