Health and Educational Status of Children: An Exploration through a Gender Lens

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The health and educational status of children with respect to undernourishment (underweight, stunting and wasting), mortality (IMR and CMR) and out-of-school children in age cohort 5-14 years are quantified across gender and across household multidimensional poverty status. Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) datasets of Punjab and Balochistan provinces are used for this analysis. Significant differences exist in poor and non-poor households with respect to the above dimensions. However, in terms of gender disparity, the results are mixed. It is found that in general girls and boys are roughly equally deprived in poor households with respect to indicators of nutritional status. The empirical evidence in terms of the gender differential in mortality rates strongly suggests the existence of gender bias in Balochistan, while findings for Punjab reveal the absence of bias against girls with respect to mortality. Regarding gender bias with respect to out-of-school children, it is found that rural girls irrespective of poverty status and province are disadvantaged in both primary and secondary age cohorts.