By Dr Raheeq Abbasi
Gender inequality is a common accusation made against Islam and a disparity in educational opportunities between men and women in many Muslim countries is often cited as a primary example of this. Education is seen as one of the pivotal factors in determining the economic, social and political advancement of a society and if, those making up over fifty percent of that society, are denied such a basic fundamental right then needless to say human rights activists will seek to find reasons for this disparity. Religion, particularly Islam is cited as a major stumbling block for women’s advancement. Studies have shown that in many parts of Africa and South East Asia women’s acquisition of knowledge is either fervently opposed; regulated to secondary importance as compared to men or encumbered with so many restrictions as to make it almost impossible for female students to acquire a decent standard of education.