354 pages, b/w illustrations
Despite the great expansion of educational opportunities world-wide since the 1960s, women in most developing countries still receive less schooling than men. Yet there is much evidence that the education of girls and women promotes both individual and national well-being. An example is the strong link between a woman's education and her employment and income. Another is that better-educated women bear fewer children, who have better chances of surviving infancy, of being healthy and of attending school. When women are deprived of an education, individuals, families and children, as well as the societies in which they live, suffer. Why then, do women in much of the developing world continue to lag behind men in measures of education attainment including literacy, length of schooling and educational achievement? This volume begins to address this puzzle by examining how education decisions are made. This is done by exploring the costs and benefits, both public and private, that determine how much families invest in educating their daughters and their sons. The volume illustrates the importance of economic and cultural differences among developing countries in explaining variations in the manner in which these costs and benefits influence schooling choices.
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Elizabeth M. King is a senior economist in the Poverty and Human Resources Division of the World Bank's Policy Research Department. M. Anne Hill is a professor of economics at Queens College, City University of New York, and a senior research associate at the Center for the Study of Business and Government, Baruch College, City University of New York.