Coming of age in contemporary Pakistan: influences of gender and poverty

Type Journal Article - The Pakistan Development Review
Title Coming of age in contemporary Pakistan: influences of gender and poverty
Volume 42
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2003
Page numbers 643-6
Economic development is strongly connected to the longevity, growth and structure of country’s population [Bloom and Canning (2003)]. Pakistan currently has the largest cohort of young people in its history (25 million aged 15–24, Census 1998) that has serious implications for the provision of schooling, health services and adequate jobs. Therefore the well being of these valuable young cohorts is profoundly important for the social and economic development and prosperity of Pakistan [Population Council (2003)]. This demographic lift can promote economic lift-off [Bloom and Canning (2003)]. In fact, Pakistan will face dire consequences if this resource is not capitalised and young people remain uneducated and unskilled [Faizunnisa and Ikram (2003)]. Work is one of the key transitions in the lives of young people. It is an important marker of adulthood, with strong implications for a country’s social and economic development. Work depending on its nature and remuneration can be the most important factor shaping adult lives. Youth employment has many implications for the labour market, poorer households and for the youth themselves. There has been relatively little or no opportunity to study the transition to adulthood in developing countries due to the lack of longitudinal data on youth. Most development research and programmes on adolescents and youth have focused on sexual and reproductive behaviour [Mensch and Greene (1998)]. However the participation of young people aged 15–24 in the labour force is emerging as an important development issue. Most of the studies, carried out on economic activities are primarily restricted to the empirical efforts to estimate the level of labour force participation. This is the area least explored in Pakistan and little is known regarding various dimensions of youth’s involvement in labour force including the determinants pushing them towards work. Increased attention has been directed at understanding the factors that encourage and/or discourage their involvement in work. Durrant (2000), analysed the Pakistan Integrated Household Surveys 1991 and PIHS 1995-96, that highlighted various opportunities and constraints towards

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