Hennink, Monique, Rana, Imran and Iqbal, Robina
Knowledge of personal and sexual development amongst young people in Pakistan , Southampton, UK University of Southampton 37pp.
(Discussion Papers in Opportunities and Choices, 12).
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Pakistan has one of the largest cohorts of young people in its history, yet research on adolescents is still relatively new in Pakistan. This study conducted 24 focus group discussions to explore young peoples’ experiences of gaining knowledge on personal and sexual development. One of the most striking findings is the gendered pattern of knowledge acquisition. Young women typically gain information from a limited number of sources within the home; while young men accessed a wide variety of information sources outside the home. These findings highlight the need for gender specific information dissemination programs to young people in Pakistan. Also prominent is the event-based nature of gaining information, whereby specific events (i.e. puberty, marriage) trigger information provision to young people, however often too late to be educative. Young people were critical of the quality of information they received, which often led to confusion and stress in understanding sexual development and relations. These findings highlight a gap in formal, neutral information sources for young people in Pakistan on personal and sexual development. Although the merits of school-based information delivery were highlighted, this strategy may have little impact on young women due to their low levels of school attendance and high drop out during adolescence.
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