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 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Acknowledgement
 Introduction
 Economic impact of girls' primary...
 Social changes: The effects of...
 Conclusions and implications for...
 Bibliography
 Executive summary
 Back Cover














Group Title: economic and social impacts of girls' primary education in developing countries
Title: The economic and social impacts of girls' primary education in developing countries
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089872/00001
 Material Information
Title: The economic and social impacts of girls' primary education in developing countries
Physical Description: v, 105 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Floro, Maria
Wolf, Joyce M
Donor: Marianne Schmink ( endowment )
Publisher: Creative Associates International,
Creative Associates International
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
Publication Date: 1990
Copyright Date: 1990
 Subjects
Subject: Women -- Education -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 79-105).
Statement of Responsibility: prepared by Maria Floro, Joyce M. Wolf.
General Note: "Prepared for Advancing Basic Education and Literacy (ABEL) Project, project no. 936-5832. Contract No. DPE-5832-Z-00-9032-00. U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of Education and Women in Development."
General Note: "December 1990."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089872
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 24006463

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page i-a
    Table of Contents
        Page ii
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    Acknowledgement
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    Introduction
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    Economic impact of girls' primary education in the third world
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    Social changes: The effects of girls' schooling
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    Conclusions and implications for policy makers
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    Bibliography
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    Executive summary
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    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text




THE
ECONOMIC
AND SOCIAL
IMPACTS
OF GIRLS'
PRIMARY
EDUCATION IN
DEVELOPING
COUNTRIES










Advancing Basic Education and Literacy
(ABEL) Project
U.S. Agency for International Development
Office of Education and Women in Development
Washington, D.C.


December 1990


I







The Economic and Social Impacts

of Girls' Primary Education

in Developing Countries


Prepared by:


Maria Floro, Ph.D.
Joyce M.Wolf, Ph.D.
Creative Associates International, Inc.
5301 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20015


Preparedfor:
Advancing Basic Education and Literacy (ABEL) Project
Project No. 936-5832
Contract No. DPE-5832-Z-00-9032-00
U.S. Agency for International Development
Office of Education and Women in Development
Washington, DC


December, 1990





















































Photography:

Front Cover: Ron Bonner
Back Cover Top: World Bank Photo Library
Back Cover Bottom: Lonni Jackson
Title Page: Lonni Jackson









TABLE OF CONTENTS



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

1. INTRODUCTION ............... ................................. ......... 1

1.1 B background ................................................................................. 1

1.2 Definition of Paper .........................................................................2

1.2.1 Scope of Project .............................................................. 2

1.2.2 Questions Addressed........................................................... 5

1.3 Positive Impacts ................... ..................... ........................

1.3.1 Economic Impact............................................................ 5

1.3.2 Social Impact.................................................................... 6

1.4 M ethodology ................................................................................ 6

1.5 Organization of Report..................................................................... 7


2. ECONOMIC IMPACT OF GIRLS' PRIMARY EDUCATION...............8

2.1 Importance of the Gender Dimension in Education Policy Making................... 9

2.1.1 General Indicators of the Relation Between
Girl's Education and Economic Development............................ 10

2.1.2 Role of Women in Economic Crises ........................................... 15

2.2 The Multidimensional Effects of Girls' Primary Education ........................... 16

2.2.1 Impact on the Labor Force Participation of Women........................ 18

2.2.2 Impact on Employment Opportunities for Women........................... 26

2.2.3 Impact on Women's Performance in the Informal
Sector and Self-employed Activities....................................... 39

2.2.4 Impact on Nonmarket and Home Production
Activities of Women........................................... ....... 45

2.3 Sum m ary .................................................................................... 49






3. SOCIAL CHANGES: THE EFFECTS OF GIRLS' SCHOOLING..........53

3.1 Introduction ............................................................................. .. 53

3.1.1 Questions Addressed........................................................... 53

3.1.2 Theoretical Perspectives...................................................... 54

3.1.3 Chapter Organization..................................................... 54

3.2 Education of Girls in a Rural Context.................................................. 54

3.2.1 Skills Gained Through Primary Education.................................. 54

3.2.2 Attitudes Changed Through Primary Education..............................56

3.2.3 Increased Control Over Life Through Primary Education................. 58

3.2.4 The Role of Women's Independent Income................................. 60

3.3 Education of Girls in an Urban Context ................................................ 61

3.3.1 Skills Gained Through Primary Education....................... .. 61

3.3.2 Attitudes Changed Through Primary Education.............................. 63

3.3.3 Increased Control Over Life Through Primary Education ................... 63

3.3.4 The Role of Women's Independent Income................................. 64

3.4 Cultural Variation in the Education of Girls......................................... 65

3.4.1 The Importance of Considering Cultural Variations...................... 65

3.4.2 Examples of Variation in the Impact of Education on
Women Within Specific Cultural Patterns ............................... 66

3.5 Sum m ary .......................................................... .......................71

3.5.1 Limitations of Existing Research on the Social Impact
of Education on Women ..... ....................................... 71

3.5.2 How Education Changes Girls and How Social and Cultural
Factors Influence the Impact of Those Changes .................... 72


4. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY MAKERS..........75

4.1 Conclusions.............................................................................. 75

4.2 Further Areas of Research................................................................ 76


APPENDIX: BIBLIOGRAPHY







FIGURES

1 Trends in Population, Primary Enrollments, and 6 to 11-year-old
Enrollments in Developing Countries......................................................... 1

2 Women's and Men's Literacy in Poorest Countries..................................... 3

3 Male and Female Primary School Gross Enrollments in the Poorest Countries........... 4

4 The Impact of Higher Education on Economic Productivity and Social Welfare........... 11

5 The Gender Gap and Its Effects on Economic Productivity and Social Welfare.......... 12

6 The Multidimensional Economic Impact of Girls' Primary Education ......... ...... 17

7 Four Levels of Agricultural Technology and Their Learning Requirements ................ 24

8 Effects of Schooling on Agricultural Productivity: Study Results
Grouped by Moder and Nonmodern Samples.........................................25

9 Interrelationships Among Girls' Primary Education, Culture, and Social Change.........74

TABLES
1 The Contribution of Education to Economic Growth by Region......................... 9

2 The Private Returns to Education by Sex................................. ........... .. 13

3 The Social and Private Returns to Investment in Education by
Regional Group and Level of Schooling ................ ............................ .. 13

4 Regression Results on the Effects of Female and Male Education on Economic
on Economic Growth: Findings from 96 Selected Countries ................................ 14

5 Effect of Schooling on Female Labor Force Participation:
Findings from Past Studies in Latin America..................................................... 19

6 Years of Schooling and the Distribution of Occupations of Brazilian Women ............. 21
by Marital Status, 1970

7 Allocation of Working Hours of Women in Selected Developing Countries.............. 22

8 Percent Distribution of Women in Ivory Coast by Employment and Educational Level .. 30

9 Schooling Level of Maquiladora Workers in Ciudad Juarez,
Mexico by Manufacturing Branch............................................................ 32

10 Patterns of Women's Employment in Latin America by Industry ............................ 34

11 Rates of Return to Investment in Education in Puerto Rico and
Kenya by Year of Schooling and by Sex........ ................................................. 36
12 Probit Estimation Results on Probability of Being Self-employed, Colombia, 1981 .....41

13 Impacts of Schooling, Nature of Impacts, and Evidence on Magnitude
of Level and Value of Impact ...................... ................................... .. 47

iv











ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


This worldwide literature review was prepared as part of Creative Associates International, Inc.'s
(CAII's) work under the Advancing Basic Education and Literacy (ABEL Project), the Agency for
International Development's (A.I.D.'s) primary mechanism for assisting governments and USAID
missions worldwide in the design and implementation of basic education programs. The project
was sponsored jointly by the agency's Bureau of Science and Technology, Office of Education and
PPC'S Women in Development Office.

I would like to thank a number of people who contributed to this report. First, I would like to
thank the researchers, Maria Floro and Joyce Wolf, who ably and tirelessly sought out, reviewed,
and analyzed the available literature on the impact of girls' primary education on economic
productivity and social development. Second, I would like to thank the following technical experts
who reviewed outlines and draft documents and provided valuable feedback:

Victor Barnes, Senior Policy Advisor for Education, AID/PPC/PDRPR/SP;

Suzanne Clay, Human Resource Development Officer, USAID/Guatemala;

Stephanie Funk, Program Analyst, AID/PPC/WID;

Jim Hoxeng, Associate Director for Development Education Systems, Office of
Education, Bureau of Science and Technology, AID;
Sue Grant Lewis, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences
Fellow, AID/Africa Bureau;
Lynelle Long, Technical Consultant, AFR/DP/PPE;
Frank Method, Chief of Sector Policy Division, AID/PPC/PDPR/SP; and

Chlo6 O'Gara, Deputy Director of the Office of Women in Development,
AID/PPC/WID.

The challenging exchange with the members of this review committee assisted the researchers in
re-focussing and re-organizing the final draft.

Finally, I would like to thank Don Russell, the Director of Project ABEL, for his guidance; Faith
Knutzen, who developed a comprehensive bibliography from which much of the literature review
initiated and who assisted immeasurably in identifying and locating relevant materials; Cynthia
Prather, who assisted the researchers in organizing, editing, and pulling together the report; and
Fannyta Klopfer for her assistance in producing the report.


May Rihani
Associate Director
ABEL








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries



CHAPTER ONE


INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND

Since the 1960s, one of the principal goals of educational policy in countries in Africa, Asia,
and Latin America has been to improve and extend access to education. In the last 25 years, both
the absolute numbers and the percentages of children in school have risen in most of these
countries. As Figure 1 indicates, primary school enrollments in developing countries increased
from 298 million to 482 million from 1965-85. This is indeed a remarkable achievement, reflecting
the strong determination of many countries to provide universal access to schooling.

Figure 1

Trends in Population, Primary Enrollments, and 6 to 11-year-old Enrollments in
Developing Countries


527 million


298 m


226 million


1965 1970 1975 1980 1985


2 6-11 ENROLLED


TOTAL ENROLLMENT


E 6-11 POPULATION


Lockheed and Verspoor, 1990.

But the need to continue educational expansion remains an imperative. First, during the same
20-year period, the school-age population (6-11 years) also increased from 372 million to 527
million children (Lockheed and Verspoor 1990). Given present population growth rates, the 6- to







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

11-year-old population will reach 680 million by the year 2000. Moreover, there is evidence of
high repetition rates in many countries. These factors worked together so that in 1985, there were
145 million school-age children who did not have access to primary education. In a period of slow
economic growth, high population growth rates, and severe budgetary constraints, the questions of
education access, expansion, and impact remain a major concern and pose a significant challenge to
governments and policy makers.

Even more striking is the wider diversity of experiences among and within the developing
countries with respect to educational access for girls. Over 90 percent of out-of-school children in
1985 lived in the poorest countries, and about 60 percent of those children were girls. Nearly 60
percent lived in four of the most populous countries--Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan
(Lockheed and Verspoor 1990). Figure 2 illustrates how girls' education continues to lag well
behind boys' in most of the developing countries. In the lowest income countries, the primary
school enrollment rate of boys was 20 percentage points higher, on the average, than that of girls
from 1965 to 1985. In that same year, girls made up only 41 percent of the total primary school
enrollment in these countries (King 1990) (see Figure 3).

Although the questions of how to extend education to those children still not in school and how
to improve the relevance and quality of education that they receive remain important, recent
research has begun to focus on the impact of education on the lives of those children who have
received it. Obstacles to female education continue to persist in terms of perceived irrelevance of
educating girls, cultural attitudes and expectations about girls, and educational practices utilized
within the schools. If these obstacles are to be overcome, it is extremely important to bring
together evidence about what the impact of schooling on girls has been. As the resources available
for education become increasingly limited in many countries, policy makers need a better
understanding of the potential impact of female education in order to make choices about the
allocation of those scarce resources.

1.2 DEFINITION OF PAPER
1.2.1 Scope of Project
The focus on impact of education has received less attention than access to education not only
because access must be established before impact can be evaluated, but also because impact is far
more difficult to assess. This paper has two purposes: to explore the evidence that exists
worldwide on the impact of girls' education, particularly primary education; and to indicate areas in
which impact probably is occurring, especially those areas that have received little or not attention
in the literature or that have been studied with methodologies that limit what can be learned.

The literature review incorporates research conducted throughout the world to gain a broad
perspective on the impact of girls' education. Originally requested by the Guatemala mission, this
review was broadened by the ABEL management committee in an effort to determine if there were
trends that existed within and across countries, regions, or cultures. By reviewing data from
countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the researchers were able to capture and consider the
diverse circumstances that influence the impact of education on women and to identify trends
throughout the world.

There are two compelling reasons why there is a need to focus on studying specifically the
impact of educating girls. One is clearly the relatively lesser access of girls to education; equally
important, however, is the different types of impacts that literate women, as compared to literate
men, might have on their societies. The economic role women play in their societies has long been
underestimated by the assumptions underlying how economic input is measured. Furthermore, the
social roles women play have been underestimated by a narrow definition of what those roles are
and how they affect society.











The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Figure 2


Women's and Men's Literacy in Poorest Countries


*10 Lowest-income countries
with data in order of increasing GNP per capital

SWomen 0 Men


Zaire
Bangladesh
Malawi
Nepal
Lao, Peoples' Dem. Rep.
Mozambique
Burkina Faso
Mali
Burundi
Zambia
Niger
Uganda
China
Somalia
Togo
India
Rwanda
Benin
Central African Republic
Kenya
Pakistan
Haiti
Nigeria
Sri Lanka
Yemen. Peoples' Dem. Rep.
Indonesia
Bolivia
Zimbabwe
Philippines
Egypt
Dominican Republic
Cote d'lvoire
Thailand
El Salvador
Cameroon
Paraguay
Ecuador
Tunisia
Turkey
Colombia


0 .0 40 60 .0 100

















0 20 40 60 80 100


Source: United Nations (WISTAT)










The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries




Figure 3

Male and Female Primary School Gross Enrollments in the Poorest Countries


Low-income Countries
Enrollment rates (%)
120

100

80

60

40

20 -- Females Males

0
0 -------------------
1965 1970 1975 1980 1985

Lower-Middle Income Countries

Enrollment rates (%)
120

100

80

60



Females Males
20

01
1965 1970 1975 1980 1985

Upper-Middle Income Countries
Enrollment rates (%)
120

100

80

60

-10
Females Males
20



Source: King, E.M. 1990. 1965 1970 1975 1980 o185






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

Finally, the report focuses on primary education for a number of reasons. First, in developing
countries, the largest number of children enrolled in schools are in the primary grades. Thus, the
group most likely to benefit from improved education would be the children in this group.
Second, although the numbers of children in primary education are increasing, they have not
increased enough. Additional evidence concerning the benefits of primary education may provide
governments and policy makers the additional impetus to make primary education available to a
wider audience, and particularly to girls. Third, although it has been well established that primary
education has an impact on areas such as family health and infant mortality, additional evidence
suggests that primary education affects other areas such as economic productivity, attitudes,
women's status, and power not only at home, but also in the community and the society at large.
This report is a careful review of existing data on those effects. Finally, primary education was
selected because a number of studies have shown that children retain very little of what they have
learned if they leave school before completing approximately 4 years of study. Therefore, the
impact of less than 4 years of school would not provide significant information.

1.2.2 Questions Addressed

The rest of the study will address the economic and social impacts of girls' primary education.
Four major questions are addressed:

How does education affect women's productivity in the wide range of economic
activities in which they are engaged, namely as members of the labor force, as
participants in the informal sector, and as principal producers of home
consumption goods and services?

Under what context(s) and in what way(s) does girls' education increase
women's contribution to the national objectives of economic growth and
development and to the well-being of their communities (rural or urban), their
families, and themselves?
How does educating a girl affect her in such a manner that she causes changes
in her society? What skills are acquired, what attitudes are changed, and what
shifts in status and power occur?
In what contexts and in what ways does educating girls lead to an impact on the
larger society? What differences in impact are found according to variations in
rural/urban setting, class, or culture?

1.3 POSITIVE IMPACTS

1.3.1 Economic Impact

The economic benefits of education seem to be clear to all. History has shown that the
industrialized countries today would not have reached their level of development without the large
stocks of educated and trained labor to work with the accumulated physical capital. For example,
Peasle's (1965) study of the relationship between growth in primary education and GNP per capital
in the period 1850 and 1960 for 34 of the most industrialized countries found that no country
achieved significant economic growth without first having attained universal primary education. In
a more recent study (from 1930 to 1980) Benavot (1985) concluded that there are significant and
positive effects of primary education on economic growth for 110 developed and developing
countries.

Even more striking are the significant benefits of girls' primary education. Many studies as







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

will be described in the economic impact chapter, found that the private and social returns to
education for women are (at least) likely to be as great as for men, when returns to education are
defined in the narrow sense of monetary earnings. This means that women, like men, receive
direct economic benefits from their education in the form of higher lifetime earnings, and society
and the community benefit from their higher productivity as members of the labor force. But this
is only part of the story. Women's nonmarket work does have a significant and positive economic
value and though this is not usually measured for purposes of national income accounting, there is
no reason why it should be ignored. Thus, if some allowance is made for both the direct and
indirect economic benefits of education to women as independent income earners, to their families,
and to the country as a whole, then even the high social and private returns to girls' primary
education underestimates the true value of girls' primary education.

1.3.2 Social Impact

Recent findings leave little doubt that women's education does have a powerful social impact.
That impact has been measured primarily in terms of women's reproductive roles, focusing upon
correlations between girl's education and decreased fertility, increased child health, and decreased
child mortality. In addition, there is a growing literature on the positive impact of a mother's
education on her children's education. While this report will briefly summarize the most recent
findings in those areas, its objective is to go beyond those general impacts and explore the far less
researched areas of how education affects women's status and how changes in status lead to
additional social impacts.

1.4 METHODOLOGY

This review grew out of a specific request from USAID/Guatemala for a summary of world
literature on the relationship between the primary education of girls and social and economic
development. To conduct this review, ABEL brought together a team of researchers with
particular expertise in international primary and girls' education, economics, and social
development.
The first stage of preparation for the report focused upon collecting the relevant literature. A
number of diverse strategies were employed, which included:

a search of a variety of university and specialized library data bases including
ERIC, the World Bank JOLIS on-line data base, MUMS, REDUC, SCORPIO,
and the data base at the Organization of American States WID Library;

an exploration of works held by specific libraries such as the International
Center for Research on Women, The World Bank, USAID, the American
University, the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College, and the Harvard Institute
of International Development;

a review of papers from unpublished collections such as the Women in
Development papers at Michigan State University, the Harvard Institute for
International Development, and Creative Associates International;

a review of papers from conferences such as the International Conference on
Worldwide Education for Women at Mount Holyoke College, and the
Conference on Women and International Development at Harvard University
and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology;






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

contacts with embassies to identify in-country research;

interviews with researchers in the field for suggestions about very recent or
unpublished sources of data; and
a review of current bibliographies related to girls' education in third world
countries.

The criteria utilized in selecting the literature to be included in the review were related to the
type of information being reported. If a piece of literature was primarily concerned with general,
well-recognized impacts of women's education it was only included if it was particularly recent
and/or extensive and helped to establish the general areas of impact. The bulk of the literature that
was chosen to be included and offered information relevant to the specific questions being asked.
On the whole, statistical studies were more frequently used in the economic section of the report,
and ethnographic studies more often used in the social section of the report.

The research team participated in several working meetings with a committee of technical
experts (see the Acknowledgements) throughout the research period to discuss progress and
identify gaps in the literature. Each researcher investigated the impacts of primary education in her
own area and then worked with each other in identifying the interrelationships of those impacts.
Preliminary findings were reviewed at various stages of the development process by committee
members and by women in developing countries.

This report represents the culmination of this development and revision process.

1.5 ORGANIZATION OF REPORT

In Chapter II, the economic impact of girls' primary education is presented. The discussion is
divided into three sections. The first presents the major indicators and trends regarding the
correlation between girls' education and economic development, particularly in the contexts of the
current economic development, and particularly in the context of the current economic conditions
facing most developing countries today: economic recession, persistently high population growth
rate, growing debt burden, chronic food shortages, and widespread poverty and unemployment.
The second section examines and clarifies the multi-dimensional impact of girls' primary education
through the various channels: a) labor force participation decision of girls and women; b) shift in
the type of labor force participation; c) access to employment in the rural and urban areas; d) labor
productivity and wage earnings; e) women's participation, credit access, and entrepreneurial
earnings in self-employed and informal sector activities of women; and f) nonmarket effects of
girls' education on home production activities. The final section summarizes the discussion and
draws conclusions.
In Chapter II, the social impact of girls' primary education is presented. The first and second
major sections within that chapter focus respectively on impacts in rural and urban contexts. Each
section is further sub-divided to explore the skills that girls gain in primary education, the attitudes
changed through that education, changes in their control over their lives as a result of education,
and the role of independent income in those relationships. The third major section explores the role
of cultural variation on the social impact of girls' education. A series of specific examinations of
the interaction of education, cultural patterns, and opportunities for obtaining an independent
income in a variety of cultures are presented and analyzed. The summary section discusses the
limitations of existing research and offers five general trends that have emerged in the preceding
review of literature.

Chapter IV includes conclusions and implications of the research to policy makers. A
comprehensive bibliography is included in the Appendix.







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


CHAPTER TWO

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF GIRLS' PRIMARY EDUCATION

IN THE THIRD WORLD

Major interest in the economic value of education was kindled as recently as 30 years ago. The
emergence of the human capital approach and the modernization school in the sixties and seventies
emphasized the importance of education in both the improvement of the productive capacities or
human skills and the transformation of individual attitudes (Schultz 1961, Denison 1962). These
then lay the foundation for a more productive labor force and hence for more rapid growth of
national output and income. In addition, basic education facilitated the attainment of social policy
objectives, particularly in population control, health, and nutrition improvements that are important
elements of development.

Since the 70s, several studies have provided aggregate evidence that broadly supports the link
between the expansion of basic education and economic growth. For example, using the growth
accounting approach to break down a country's economic growth into various contributory factors,
Pscharopoulo (1988) found that from 8.6 percent to 17.2 percent of the economic growth rate in
developing countries was explained by education (see Table 1). In examining the data for 25
countries, Easterlin (1981) concluded that modernization, particularly, the spread of technology,
depended on the learning potentials and motivation that were linked to access to formal schooling.
Mingat and Tan (1987) showed that unless a population is literate, other (physical) investment
projects may fail.

Economic development (or the improvement of material standards of the population) is not only
concerned with economic growth, however, it also involves equitable distribution and meeting
basic needs. Several economists who have addressed these issues argue that the expansion of
education is a factor in the reduction in the dispersion of earnings and hence can facilitate a more
equal distribution of income. Marin and Psacharopoulos (1976) used Mexican data to demonstrate
that providing primary education to 10 percent of those without it would make income distribution
more equal by nearly 5 percent, compared with the present level of an inequality index. They
pointed out, however, that this is based on the assumption that the supply of educated labor is
matched with increased demand. Moreover, any increase in productivity of individuals in society
is matched by a corresponding increase in the real wage1.

The remainder of this chapter is organized into two major subdivisions: the importance of
gender in education policy making; and the multidimensional effects of girls' primary education. A
summary and conclusions are provided at the end.







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries



Table 1

The Contribution of Education to Economic Growth by Region


Percentage of Growth Rate
Region Explained by Education


Africa 17.2
Asia 11.1
Latin America 5.1
North America and Europe 8.6


Note: Figures are simply country averages within regions and mostly refer to economic growth in the 1950s
and 1960s.

Source: Psacharopoulos, G. (1988).





2.1 Importance of the Gender Dimension in Education Policy Making

Until recently, most studies that relate education to economic development failed to address the
gender dimension2. This is a serious shortcoming considering the magnitude of illiteracy among
women, especially in the Third World, and the persistence of a gender gap in primary educational
access in many developing countries, as shown in the Chapter I of this paper. While commendable
progress has been made in girls' primary education in developing countries in the last three
decades, the goal of universal basic education, especially among girls, has yet to be attained. Over
60 percent of the world's 963 million illiterate are women (UNESCO 1989). Given the persistent
high population growth rate in Third World countries, this number is bound to increase unless
girls' access to primary education is expanded.

Yet girls and women play significant productive roles and makes substantial contributions in
various economic spheres. There is overwhelming evidence that women, in addition to their
traditional roles of childrearing and home production, participate actively in farming,
manufacturing, marketing, and trade as well as various types of self-employment. Without access
to education, women may be deprived of much of their potential ability to contribute to the
development of their countries.

This raises two important questions, which are the direct concerns of the rest of the chapter.
First, how does girls' primary education affect women's economic contributions in the wide range
of economic activities in which they participate? More specifically, what is the process by which
girls' education affects women's productivity as members of the labor force, as participants in the
informal sector, and as principal producers of home consumption goods and services? The
second, related question is: Under what context(s) and in what way(s) does girls' education lead






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

to increased women's economic contribution to society? Before answering these questions, this
section first examines the conditions and circumstances most conducive to positive links between
girls' education and economic development.

2.1.1 General Indicators of the Relation between Girls' Education and
Economic Development

There is increasing evidence that girls' education is positively correlated with the economic
well-being of a country. King (1990) showed the links between women's education and social
and economic development by means of plot diagrams. Figure 4 illustrates the positive correlation
between primary enrollment rates of girls and GNP per capital (proxy for economic growth) as well
as life expectancy, and the inverse relationship between primary enrollment rates of girls and infant
mortality rates and fertility rates. King (1990) also recognizes the separate additional effect that
any gender gap in gross enrollment rates may have on economic and social welfare. As
demonstrated in Figure 5, for any given level of per capital income, countries with smaller gender
gaps in education tend to have longer life expectancies, lower infant mortality rates, and lower
fertility rates.

Other evidence is presented by Psacharopoulos (1989) using the private and social rates of
return to (education) investment approach. The private or individual rate of return to education
generally is assessed by observing differences in the earnings of workers with different levels of
education and controlling for other differences that may exist between the groups and then
comparing the adjusted earnings differential with the private costs of education3. The social rate of
return is based on a comparison of the earnings differential with the total resource costs of
education. Tables 2 and 3 present the estimates of the average rates of return to education for over
60 countries and yield several noteworthy points:
The rates of return are higher on girls' education than on boys'4.

Rates of return are highest in primary, followed by secondary, and then higher
levels of education.
The more developed the country, the lower the returns to education at all levels.

Benavot (1989) further examined the long-term effects of girls' education on economic growth
in comparison with that of boys' education by means of regression analyses. Using a sample of
76 countries from 1965-80 and taking into account the gender differences, she estimated separate
regression equations for the enrollment rates of females and males at both primary and secondary
levels for various clusters of developing countries. The summary of the results presented in Table
4 show that the primary enrollment rates of both females and males have strong positive effects on
GNP per capital. Moreover, the parameter associated with girls' primary education (.0064) is
higher than that associated with boys' primary education (.0056). Other regression results at the
regional level indicate that the impact of girls' primary education in Africa and other poorer
developing countries is significantly stronger than that of boys' primary education. These findings
further confirm the results of Psacharopoulos (1988) and King (1990) that the expansion of girls'
primary education has a stronger positive effect on long-term economic growth, especially of the
poorer developing countries, than that of boys'. The above general trends present a powerful
argument for increasing girls' access to primary education.









The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Figure 4


The Impact of Higher Education

on Economic Productivity and Social Welfare


GNP per capital


Life Expectancy


Years


0 20 40 60 80


Enrollment Rate


0 20 40 60 80 100 120


Enrollment Rate


Infant Mortality Rate

Dea hs/1000 births


I) 20 -10 60 80 100 120


lnrollmient R;ate


Total Fertility Rate


0 20 -10 60 SO 100 120


Enrollment Rate


Source: King, E. M. (1990).


10000


8000


6000


4000


2000


A


o oo
oo o
0 0
3 0
0 0 0
00 0
00 0


a o o
0o 0 o
k 0 0


So o o o
o '0 0?<^~'^


0








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Figure 5

The Gender Gap and Its Effects on

Economic Productivity and Social Welfare


A scaucer plot of countries
The gender gap is defined as the ratio of male to female gross enrollment rates.
The horizontal axis is in a logarithmic scale.

-0- Line A: Countries with almost zero gender gap
-o- Line B: Males' enrollment rate at least 40% higher than females'



Life Expectancy


1000

GNP per capital


10000


Infant Mortality


Total Fertility Rate


Deaths/1000 brths


1000

GNP per capital


10000


100 1000

GNP per capital


Source: King, E. M. (1990).


10000








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries




Table 2

The Private Returns to Education by Sex


Sex Rate of Return


Males 11
Females 15



Note: Figures refer to the coefficient of the average year of schooling estimated by means of Mincer's
semilogarithmic earnings function in sixteen countries during the late 1970s.

Source: Psacharopoulos, (1988).





Table 3

The Social and Private Returns to Investment in Education
by Regional Group and Level of Schooling



Social Return Private Return

Region Primary Secondary Higher Primary Secondary Higher


Africa 26 17 13 45 26 32
Asia 27 15 13 31 15 18
Latin America 26 18 16 32 23 23
Southern Europe and 13 10 8 17 13 13
Middle Ept a/
Western Europe and -- 11 9 -- 12 12
North America


/ Not available because of lack of a control group of illiterates.

Source: Psacharopoulos, G. (1988).



13








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries



Table 4

Regression Results on the Effects of Female and Male Education
on Economic Growth: Findings from 96 Selected Countries.a/



Equationb Female Male Female Male Adjusted
Primary Primary Secondary Secondary Constant R2


1. World sample a. .006.3** .0004 .73 .924
(N= 96) b. .0061** .0025 .77 .924

2. All less developed countries a. .0064** .0033 .65 .859
(N= 76) b. .0056** .0078* .60 .858

3. Less-developed countries
in Africa a. .0081** .0376 -.06 .751
(n = 34) b. .0046* .0306 .36 .726

4. Less-developed countries
in the Americas a. .0061* -.0029 .28 .845
(n = 23) b. .0055* .0010 .25 .835

5. Less-developed countries a. .0024 .0159 .57 .930
in Asia (n = 19) b. .0027 .0123* .32 .935

6. Poorer less developed a. .0053** .0202 1.28 .643
countries (below $375) b. .0041 .0060 1.39 .569
(n=39)

7. Richer less developed a. .0060** .0052 .14 .794
countries (above $475) b. .0076 .0110* -.10 .855
(n=37)


a The dependent variable is the logged per capital GNP, 1985; unstandardized regression coefficients are
reported.
b Each equation in this table was estimated with the same control and intervening variables as those
reported in Table 4 (Equations 3 and 6). To simplify the presentation of results, the parameters
associated with these variables are not shown.

*Unstandardized regression coefficient is at least 1.5 times its standard error.
**Unstandardized regression coefficient is at least 2.0 times its standard error.

Intervening Variables
Total fertility rate, 1970
Women's rate of participation in the industrial labor force, 1965
Women's rate of participation in the service labor force, 1965

Source: Benavot (1989).







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


2.1.2 Role of Women in Economic Crises

The economic realities faced by Third World countries today are forcing many governments to
reassess their development efforts and priorities, an action which unfortunately often leads to
education cutbacks. The need for expansion of basic education, particularly for girls, has
budgetary implications that policy makers are unwilling to address during periods of severe fiscal
constraints. In most developing countries the problem of economic recession is compounded by
the growing protectionism of industrialized countries and the mounting burden of debt. While
some Asian countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore have recovered,
countries in Latin America, parts of Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa continue to experience declines
in per capital income and other indicators of economic well-being.

Moreover, the high debt service burden of developing countries and the structural adjustment
program of the World Bank has compelled governments to cut back on social investments with
long-term gestations such as education. Given the decline in public investment in education, many
fear that the progress in girls' primary education may take a step backward. The need to examine
the economic impact of girls education, a fact prompted by the same factors that threaten to
undermine it, becomes all the more urgent and imperative. What is now deemed a short-term
solution may have long-term negative implications5.

The stagnant growth and high debt burden have pushed the question of food security to the top
of the policy agenda. Chronic food shortages, malnutrition, and poverty endure in this period of
considerable advances in science and technology. This problem can be alleviated by a more
equitable distribution of resources and by providing necessary support for increased productivity
of food crop producers.

Although national statistics often do not include them, a growing body of literature shows that
women traditionally have been the principal food growers, especially in Africa. Increasing
domestic food production is sometimes made synonymous with improving the productivity and
incomes of women farmers6. Moreover, growing the food crops essential for survival during
periods of economic recession is a task that falls heavily on a growing number of women
especially in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.

Yet, women as food producers are often at a disadvantage. Most rural women are illiterate and
have less access to resources and opportunities than their male counterparts. Furthermore,
misguided agricultural policies such as emphasis on export crops (grown by men and corporations)
to the detriment of domestic food production (performed largely by women), have worsened the
problem of food security and at the same time have undermined the efforts of women farmers. The
question of food security is therefore not simply a matter of increasing production, but also a
question of distribution of resources and appropriate policies that provide basic skills and greater
incentive to food producers.

Food production is not the only economic activity in which women actively participate. Most
women work harder and join the formal labor force in greater numbers during recessions, to
compensate for declines in real family incomes. For example, since the beginning of the Latin
American debt crisis in 1982, the increase in women's participation in the labor market and in the
informal sector has become more rapid than men's. Poor families' success in coping with
economic crises, therefore, largely rests upon women's ability to find employment or to have
access to resources and thereby earn more income. It is in this context of sluggish economic
growth, budget constraints, food shortages, increasing poverty, and rising unemployment that







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

women's access to education could make a significant economic impact. The following discussion
will examine how this may be the case and under what circumstances this positive effect on
economic survival and growth is most substantial.

2.2 The Multidimensional Effects of Girls' Primary Education

The impact of education on the economic well-being of women, their families, and the society
at large is both multidimensional and complex. Figure 6 charts the various processes by which this
impact is made and indicates the possible channels by which girls' primary education affects
women's economic contributions, thereby leading to improved economic well-being of women as
individuals and as members of their families, communities, and society in general.

It is important to emphasize that the quality of schooling makes a difference with respect to the
skills formation and learning processes of girls. Most economic studies that examine the effects of
education do no more than proxy the form and content of education by a simple measure of "years
of schooling" since this is easily quantifiable and measurable. But the structure and content of
schooling, along with the quality of teachers and material inputs, are crucial in themselves. The
higher the quality of education, the more skills and human capital are developed in girls and hence
the greater is their potential as productive members of society. Although the whole subject of the
quality of education is recognized, and although the quality of education is not uniform across or
within countries, these issues are beyond the scope of this study. The findings and conclusions in
this study are based on the premise that basic education instills literacy, numeracy, and cognitive
skills. In so doing, girls' education may bring about the following economic benefits:

Women participate more actively in the labor force, whether in rural or urban
areas.

For those seeking wage employment, girls' education can increase the
probability of obtaining employment since they have better skills and thus are
more able to learn new methods of operation. This can lead to higher output
and hence greater productivity, which then leads to higher wage earnings.

Among those women who are self-employed and/or engaged in informal sector
activities, education can increase their access to credit and to vocational and
training programs. This leads to higher output and hence higher profits.

As principals in home production activities, education increases women's
production of nonmarketed goods and leads to improved childrearing practices,
better family health, greater consumer choice efficiency, and lower fertility.

All of the above emphasize the importance of girls' primary education and outline the positive
outcomes that can be anticipated such as higher economic growth, independent sources of income
for women, and greater opportunities for meeting their families' needs. The results, however, will
depend on the prevailing economic, social, and cultural conditions. The environment is shaped by
diverse economic policies, social structures, and cultural norms that may hinder even educated
women from realizing their potential as productive members of society. Hence, the actual results
may not match the expected outcomes for the economic impact of girls' primary education.

The remainder of this chapter presents the impacts of primary education in four areas: labor
force participation; employment opportunities and earning in rural and urban areas; performance in
self-employment and informal sector activities; and nonmarket and home production activities.







Figure 6


The Multidimensional Economic Impact of Girls' Primary Education


i---------I
I I
Quality of Primary
Education

I* Education & Structure
I I


I.
I


Quality of Teachers

Access to Material
Inputs


* Curriculum Content
I_______________


r---------I

Skills Formation

I* Numeracy

I Literacy

* Skills to Perform
Standard Tasks

Enhanced Ability to:

perceive and process
new information

communicate with
others

evaluate and adjust
to changes

adopt new
technology

reduce subjective
uncertainty
I I


Primary

Education

of

Girls


--N-


I
I
I
-1


I








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Conditions that influence these impacts are also discussed. The social factors are discussed
more extensively in the next chapter.

2.2.1 Impact on the Labor Force Participation of Women

2.2.1.a Women's Decision to Participate

Many economic and sociological theories predict that education increases women's
participation in the labor force. This prediction is premised on the notion that education favorably
affects women's willingness and ability to enter the labor market (Mincer 1962). It provides them
with the necessary credentials for employment and thus a strong inducement to enter the labor
market. Education, therefore, changes women's attitudes towards their own role in the household
and in the workplace.

For instance, in countries where the prevailing gender norm is that women are confined at
home and exclusively attend to household chores while men work and bring home the bread,
primary education can assist in breaking down this traditional gender division of labor. Dorothy
Remy (1975), who studied the economic activity of women in Nigeria, commented that "without
exception, the women in my sample who have been able to earn a substantial independent income,
had attended primary school. Urdang's (1989) study of women in Mozambique provides further
anecdotal evidence that the lack of education among women tends to reinforce the gender division
of labor. Despite the conscious efforts of the Mozambican government to integrate women, on the
state farms women tend to do the traditional "female" tasks that require little or no skills and do not
perform traditional "male" tasks such as tractor driving. One of the problems cited is girls' access
to primary education. "Those who take the driving course have to have completed third or fourth
grade. Yet at this time, they have very few women with these qualifications (p. 105)." The
process by which women's aspirations are changed by education are further examined in the social
impact section. This chapter reviews the existing evidence regarding the effect of girls' primary
education on their labor force participation.

The results of various empirical studies show that the relationship between girls' primary
education and labor force participation is not as straightforward as one would expect. Intervening
variables such as level of education, age, social customs, economic conditions, and other factors
also need to be examined in evaluating the overall impact of girls' primary education on labor force
participation.

It has been observed that a U-shaped relationship exists between girls' primary education and
labor force participation, with higher participation by those with lower or higher levels of education
than by those with an intermediate levels. Using regression and probit analyses, the studies by
Danes et al (1985), Castaneda (1986), Behrman and Wolfe (1984), Mohan (1986), and King
(1990) show that education and training enhance the contributions of women in the labor market in
a nonlinear and nonmonotonical fashion (see Table 5). Although the years of schooling appear to
have a very small and negative effect on labor force participation as a whole, educational attainment
appears to have a positive, though small, influence on participation in the formal sector, i.e., wage
employment, especially when age and marital status are taken into account. For example, Lewis'
(1982) study of women's employment in the Ivory Coast shows a strong positive relationship
between salaried employment and education. His analysis concludes that among educated females,
participation in self-employed petty-trading (informal sector) declined significantly while
participation in the formal economy increased.








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Table 5

Effect of Schooling on Female Labor Force Participation:
Findings from Past Studies in Latin America


Participation Results using --
Estimated Type Schooling
and Study Subsample Schooling- t-value Squared- t-value
Coefficient Coefficient


OLS Estimates

Danes, Winter & 0.12 (6.51)
Whiteford, 1985
(Honduras)

Casiafieda, 1986 Years of schooling:
(Chile) 0 years 0.222 (1.82)
1-4 years -0.122 (1.89)
5-8 -0.045 (0.9)
13+ years 0.208 (2.41)


Probit Estimates
Behrman & Wolfe, Metro area -0.06 (1.7) 0.01 (3.5)
1984 (Nicaragua) Formal sector 0.15 (3.5) 0.004 (1.1)
Informal sector -0.05 (1.5) -0.002 (0.8)

Other urban areas 0.01 (0.2) 0.01 (2.1)
Formal sector 0.08 (1.9) 0.01 (2.4)
Informal sector 0.08 (2.0) -0.01 (3.3)

Rural 0.01 (0.2) 0.01 (1.0)
Formal sector -0.01 (0.1) 0.02 (1.8)
Informal sector 0.12 (1.7) -0.02 (1.8)

Castafieda, 1986 Age <= 35 0.134 (3.5)
(Colombia) Age => 35 0.127 (3.8)

Mohan, 1986 Young women, 15-24 -0.008 (2.0)
(Colombia) Unmarried women, 25-54 0.014 (2.8)
Married women 0.031 (8.8)

King, 1990 All Peru -0.036 (-4.88)
(Peru) Lima -0.029 (-2.37)
Other Urban -0.032 (-2.98)
Rural -0.027 (-1.29)

Source: King, E. (1989).


19








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Mohan's (1985) study of women in Bogota, Colombia shows that women with primary
education have higher rates of labor force participation than those with no schooling. When data
were further classified by age and marital status, Mohan also found that years of schooling for
young women (aged 15-24) are not significantly related to their decisions to participate in the labor
market. Among married women (25 years and older), however, educational attainment was found
to have a significant positive influence on their labor force participation. This strongly suggests
that the effects of education may not be felt in the short run; hence education is a long-term social
investment.

Age and marital status are not the only factors that determine the flow of economic benefits
from education. In Muslim countries, especially in the Middle East, East Asia, and Northern
Africa, religious and cultural factors may limit women's economic activities, whether they are
educated or not. Restrictions against women's interaction with men and the generally inhibited
attitudes toward women reduce educated Muslim women's responses to incentives to work outside
the home.

Often factors that affect the relationship between female education and labor force participation
are economic policies and gender norms. Clignet's (1977) study of Cameroon and the Ivory Coast
and de Miranda's (1977) study of Brazilian women question the commonly held assumption of a
positive correlation between education and women's labor force participation by focusing on the
concrete social, cultural, and historical factors that influence the levels and forms of labor and
education of women in these two regions. Both studies demonstrated that economic growth and
industrialization do not necessarily result in high levels of women's labor force participation nor in
participation at the same level of equality with men. In particular, de Miranda's analysis led her to
conclude that although schooling is the single most important factor that contributes to an increase
in women's labor force participation, the potential productivity of women is hampered by the
specific types of industrialization and gender stereotyping that create female underemployment and
marginalization. Table 6 illustrates by means of distribution of occupation among women how
sexual stereotypes interact with marital status and education so that women are concentrated in the
tertiary sector. Hence, increased primary education implies only a limited increase in the alternative
choices available to women.

2.2.1.b Shift in the Type of Labor Force Participation of Women

None of the studies reviewed have addressed the important distinction between women who
are not engaged in economic activities outside the home and women who are already engaged in
economic activities but who are not recognized, statistically, economically, and socially as active
producers. Almost all of the studies previously mentioned presume that women who decide to join
the labor force due to education are nonworking women who are dependent on their husbands or
parents for their needs and whose work exclusively involves home production activities such as
household chores and child care. While this may be true for women particularly in the middle and
upper classes, studies show that this is not the case for the majority of women, especially the poor.
This is even more apparent during periods of economic recession when women work in marginal
sectors and are not counted as labor force participants.

Women in the rural areas often work either as producers of nonmarketed food crops or as
unpaid family labor (see Table 7). Their contribution to production and participation in the labor
force are neither counted nor recognized. In South Asia, women account for more than a third of
the agricultural labor force and work long hours in both rural wage employment and household
production, often longer than those worked by men (Safilios-Rothschild 1983). In rural
Bangladesh, the security and productivity of rural women was tied to family ownership of land







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Table 6

Years of Schooling and the Distribution of
Occupations of Brazilian Women by Marital Status, 1970


Married Women Single Women a/

Mean Mean
Years of Years of
Occupation Schooling Schooling

Farm laborer 1.42 2.27
Domestic maid 1.87 3.28
Industrial worker 3.19 4.03
Others 3.91 4.21
Commercial worker 4.20 5.34
Personal services 4.58 5.15
Nurse 5.83 5.65
Clerical worker 7.79 7.92
Elementary teacher 9.14 9.43
Secondary teacher 11.42 11.94
Professional worker 13.71 13.28

e Living with parents.

Source: de Miranda, G.V. (1977).







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Table 7

Allocation of Working Hours of Women
in Selected Developing Countries


Hours Spent in Hours Spent in
Country Home and Market and Total
Subsistence Agricultural
Production ProductionbD


AFRICA

Botswana 5.6 .6 6.2
Burkina Faso 5.7 4.1 9.8
Cameroon 5.7 3.9 9.6
Ivory Coast 5.1 6.9 12.0
Sudan 10.7 3.0 13.7
Tanzania 5.3 5.7 11.0


ASIA

Bangladesh 6.7 5.0 11.7
India 4.0 2.0 6.0
Malaysia 10.0 1.8 11.8
Nepal 4.3 7.2 11.5
Philippines 7.4 .9 8.3


LATIN AMERICA

Chile 5.4 7.0 12.4
Peru n.a. 8.8 n.a.
Uruguay 5.2 6.9 12.1
Venezuela n.a. n.a. 9.3




a/ Home and subsistence production is generally defined as food processing and cooking, housework, child care
and health care for the family, as well as agricultural production that sustains the family.

b/ Market and agricultural production is defined as activity designed to produce income for the household, such
as handicrafts production, marketing, and either paid or unpaid labor in agricultural production directed toward
market sales.





Source: Buvinic and Yudelman, 1989.






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


(McCarthy and Feldman 1988). Those engaged in agriculture are often as unpaid family workers
or as casual laborers working seasonally rather than year-round or as lowly-paid workers.

In those cases where women are already engaged in production, the question is whether
primary education plays a key role to their integration into the mainstream labor force and/or shift
from low productive activities to high productive activities. The paucity of studies on this question
of labor force participation does not prevent us from stating the following hypothesis: Girls'
primary education establishes the basic skills and opens up options on a wider range of economic
activities. Literacy, numeracy, and cognitive skills increases women's ability to take part in
various development efforts and related vocational and training programs. Hence, it may lead to
shifts in women's labor force participation from marginal economic activities to more productive
ones.

But the extent to which girls' education brings about this shift in the pattern of labor force
participation would depend on several important factors that allow for maximization of women's
productivity. One is their access to complementary resources such as land, credit, and technology.
The other is the absorptive capacity of the labor market especially in highly productive enterprises.
For instance, there is accumulating evidence that primary education helps increase farm
productivity. In India, a study has shown that literate farmers produce higher yields per acre
(McGrath 1979). This is because better educated farmers have more access to agricultural and
cooperative training, seek more contact with agricultural extension workers, and are better able to
implement new ideas and to use existing facilities. Derryck (1978) in fact, provides anecdotal
evidence suggesting a strong link between primary education and nonformal training programs.
Jarousse and Mingat (1990) cited various analyses of development projects that show that the
success of the success of the projects was positively affected by adult literacy level in the locale of
the project. The effect of primary education, in this case, is in broadening the horizons and in
raising the aspirations of farmers. It provides the individual with some familiarity with modern
concepts and institutions. When an educated farmer settles down to farming and develops some
commitment, he/she is likely to be a more aggressively innovative farmer (Hopcraft 1976).

There also is evidence that he/she is likely to use modern farming inputs more intensively,
because basic education provides farmers with the minimum cognitive skills required to
successfully adopt new technology. Basic skills therefore are a necessary condition if further
nonformal training is to be successful. Heyneman (1983) illustrates the link between irrigation-
based farming and education (see Figure 7). The most elementary techniques require little or no
schooling. But the second level (B) includes a single modern input such as fertilizer whose
utilization is substantially improved if the farmer has rudimentary literacy and a knowledge of
addition, subtraction, and division. At higher levels, when several modern inputs are included
simultaneously or the farmer must use his/her own initiative, an understanding of mathematical
procedures and rudimentary knowledge of some chemical and biological properties are required.

A recent survey of 18 economic studies by Lockheed, Jamison, and Lau (1980) examined the
effects of farmers' educational levels and exposure to extension services on productivity. Using
37 data sets, the authors applied the production function approach to estimate the marginal product
of education. They reached the conclusion that farm productivity increases on the average, by 7.4
percent as a result of a farmer's completing four additional years of elementary education. The
histogram in Figure 8 summarizes these findings with respect to the increase in output attributable
to farmers' having at least 4 years of basic education. While Lockheed et al (1980) concluded that
education has a positive impact on agricultural productivity, this varied widely from country to
country. The variation of impact is attributed to the differences in the stage of economic







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Figure 7

Four Levels of Agricultural Technology
and Their Learning Requirements


Farmer-entrepreneurs Agricultural Inputs Minimum Learning
Technology Level Requirements


Level A:
Traditional farming Local varieties of seeds and Addition and subtraction-not
(Techniques passed implements. necessarily acquired through formal
from parent to child) education.



Level B:
Intermediate technology Small quantities of fertilizer. Addition, subtraction, division, and
rudimentary literacy.


Level C:
Fully improved technology High-yielding varieties; proven Multiplication, long division, and
seeds; seed rates/acre; fertilizer other more complex mathematical
rates/acre; and pest control procedures; reading and writing
rates/acre, facilities; and rudimentary knowledge
of chemistry and biology.


Level D:
Full irrigation-based All above inputs; tubewell Mathematics, independent written
farming access during the off-season; communication, high reading
and water rates/acre. comprehension, ability to research
unfamiliar words and concepts;
elementary chemistry, biology,
physics; and regular access to
information from print and electronic
sources.


Source: Heyneman, S.P. (1983).







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Figure 8

Effects of Schooling on Agricultural Productivity:
Study Results Grouped by Modern and Nonmodern Samples


44.0%


35.6%


25.7%


13.3%


-6 -2 2 6 10 14 18
Percentage increase in productivity for four years of education


IKy: Modem technology-based studies sample, mean percentage are in productivity = 9.5%
Key:
[ | Nonmodern tchnology-based studies sample, mean percentage arc in productivity =
1.2%



Source: Lockheed, M.E., D.T. Jamison, and L.J. Lau (1980).






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


development and environmental conditions as important determinants of the effects of education on
production (p. 129). The mean increase in output for 4 years of education under traditional
conditions was 1.3 percent compared with 9.5 percent under modernizing conditions. This
supports Schultz' (1975) argument that education is likely to be effective principally under
modernizing conditions7.

None of the above mentioned studies take into account the gender dimension of educational
effect This omission is both unjustified and short-sighted given the significance of women's
economic contribution in rural areas. Deere (1975) argued that new techniques based primarily on
know-how, such as application of fertilizer or the use of improved seed varieties, obviously do not
carry an inherent gender designation for utilization. But to a certain degree, some, if not all, of
these tasks are traditionally done by women and children as unpaid farm assistants or as food
producers. Hence, the acceptance and use of improved agricultural methods do depend on girls'
education. But in most cases, women are excluded in training programs, have almost no role in
farm decision making, and have little access to modern technology as well as to land and credit.
Unless women have equal access to these inputs the productivity potential provided by primary
education may not be realized at all. As Bowman (1980) argued, "Once a foundation in basic skills
is assured, what education can and will contribute to economic development in developing
countries may depend as much on economic as on strictly educational policies" (p. 14). This
emphasizes not only the point that women respond to opportunities, but also the fact that the
effective utilization of any human capital requires resource redistribution policies that complement
those in education.

2.2.2 Impact on Employment Opportunities for Women

While it may be the case that education has a positive effect on labor force participation, the
question is whether this has translated to higher employment rates for women. This section
examines whether women with primary education, as compared to women with no primary
education, have a higher probability to actively seek employment and whether they actually get paid
employment.

There are three major concerns regarding the educational effect on women's employment
opportunities. These concerns are reflected in the following questions:

Does education increase women's access to jobs in the rural and urban areas?

To what type of employment opportunities do educated women have access?
and

What is the impact of girls' primary education on women's productivity in the
work place as reflected in the level of wage earnings?

These issues are discussed separately in the following subsections.

2.2.2.a Employment Options for Educated Women in the Rural Areas

The significant roles women play in Third World agriculture have been fairly well documented.
Women make important labor contributions to both food and cash crop production as well as in
nonfarm activities. Yet, women's lack of independent remuneration and source of income,
combined with the changes in aspirations and attitudes that were discussed earlier, tend to push
women to seek employment in the formal labor market. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in rural






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

areas, employment opportunities outside the farm are limited and do not appear to be expanding,
whereas the total number of women competing for work is increasing (McCarthy and Feldman
1988). Of the limited employment opportunities available, wage employment in plantations or
commercial agriculture seems to be the most prominent. The educational effects on the probability
of getting wage employment in commercial agriculture are examined below.

Clignet (1977) found that among younger women in Cameroon and the Ivory Coast, the
relationship between girls' education and employment tends to be curvilinear: both women with no
education and those with postprimary education are the most likely to find jobs. The former
frequently are employed in unskilled agricultural work, notably in banana plantations, before
growing their own cash crops or in various service activities such as domestic work. In short,
there is no linear correlation between formal schooling and employment.

A study of employment patterns in Malaysia's rubber and tea plantations indicates a rising trend
of female workers in the rubber and tea estates. The highest paid workers, however, are the
Mandores or supervisors, who are all males. Women tend to occupy the lowest paid jobs--
weeding and to some extent tapping. The latter, which pays 30 percent more than weeding,
requires a considerable degree of skill that can only be obtained from experience. Educational
attainment therefore does not determine access to employment nor the level of wages received by
the plantation workers (Heyzer 1986). In fact, a case study prepared by Heyzer (1986) of a
Malaysian rubber plantation estate shows that women who become full-time estate employees are
those who have access to child labor to help in the weeding activities and on the worksites. In other
words, a woman's position in the labor process is tied to the use of unpaid child labor as a means
to increase the level of subsistence for the household and not on her skills or level of educational
attainment. Unless government policies promote agricultural development, support rural-based
industries, and address the gender discrimination in hiring female workers for semi-skilled and
skilled jobs, the absorptive capacity of the agricultural sector will not catch up with the increased
supply of educated female workers.

Given the limited employment opportunities in the rural areas, girls' primary education has two
other effects. While other factors such as proximity to urban centers contribute to the
diversification of the economic base, rural men and women are less likely to venture into new
economic activities without basic education (IIEP 1981). Rural women are not limited to farm
activities; in fact it is well documented that they engage in various income-generating activities such
as trading and other microenterprises. A 1975 Bangladesh study shows that villages with a high
level of literacy have a much greater degree of income sources. Villagers practice a combination of
agriculture, small commerce, services, or an independent profession, and these additional activities
supplement agriculture as sources of income.

The other major effect of girls' primary education in rural areas is an increased propensity to
migrate. Formal education is cited in many migration studies as an important mobilizing factor
associated with rural exodus. A Nigerian case study concluded that after primary school about 60
percent of village children leave their homes for the towns and cities (International Labour Office
Mission 1967). Caldwell et al (1968) pointed out in his study of migration in Ghana that formal
education is one of the most reliable determinants of migration from the rural areas to the city, and
this holds true for females as well as males. A 1978 UNESCO study confirms that women are
increasingly prominent in rural-to-urban migration (Orlansky and Dubrovsky 1978, Youssef et al
1979).

Several theories have provided alternative explanations and rationale for the increased
propensity among educated women to migrate. One strand in the literature cites the lack of
employment opportunities in rural areas. Thompson (1981) cited, for instance, that in 1966 only






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

90,000 of the 150,000 children leaving school at the end of primary education could hope to obtain
further education or employment of any kind. This demonstrates the extent and rate of growth of
unemployment among young school leavers (Christian Council of Kenya 1966). As Safilios-
Rothschild (1979) pointed out, to the extent that women's increased access to formal education is
not accompanied by increased access to agricultural training, rural women's formal education may
led to their migration to the cities.

Urbanization is the other side of the 'push-pull' effect in migration theories. Rapid
urbanization has been an inevitable reality in most developing countries and rural women must
have the skills developed through formal elementary education to aid them in surviving urban
settings, especially as they look for jobs (Boserup 1970, Caldwell et al 1982). The Behrman and
Wolfe (1984) study of female migration patterns in Nicaragua explores the determinants of
migratory flows using regression analyses. They concluded that returns to schooling (as measured
by women's expected wage) are not significant for rural regions but are significantly positive for
urban regions, which implies slightly increasing returns to schooling for women employed in the
urban sector. In another study, Behrman and Deolalikar (1988) estimated separate female and male
wage functions in the rural and urban areas of Indonesia. They concluded that the impact of age
and education is significantly higher for females in urban areas than in rural areas, and the marginal
schooling returns favoring females are significantly larger for every schooling category. It seems,
therefore, that among educated females, the higher the rural-urban wage differential and the more
concentrated the industries in urban centers, the greater is the propensity to migrate.

Another explanation of the impact of education on migration patterns lies in the structure and
content of the educational process itself. Kiros' Ethiopian case study (Berstecher 1985) pointed
out that school curricula tend to look with disdain on manual work and prepare students more for
white-collar and urban-based activities than for participation in agriculture-based activities. In the
particular district analyzed by Kiros, over 80 percent of children who had been to school chose not
to become farmers, and of those who had become farmers, most had attended only up to the fourth
grade.

The preceding discussion examined the impact of primary education on rural women's
economic participation. Undoubtedly, primary education is a major factor in bringing about
changes in the economic roles and status of rural girls and women by affecting both the rates and
types of labor force participation. But the wide range of its impact does not allow for easy
generalizations. Any effort to explain the relationship between girls' primary education and
agricultural productivity needs to take into account the broader economic and social environment
which determine the direction of change. The preceding section showed that age, marital status,
extent of recognition of women's economic contribution, cultural norms, structure of the labor
market, degree and effectiveness of rural development strategies to disperse and attract industries to
the rural areas and to promote broad-based employment, and structure and content of school
curriculum are important factors in determining the extent to which primary education leads to
increased women's productivity in rural areas.

2.2.2.b Impact on Employment Opportunities for Women in the Urban Areas

The preceding discussion has shown that the effect of education on both women's decisions to
participate in the labor force and to migrate from rural to urban areas leads to rapid growth in the
supply of educated female workers in towns and cities. This section examines whether primary
education has increased the probability that women will obtain waged employment in the urban
areas.








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Lewis (1982) looked at the determinants of women's employment in the Ivory Coast and
concluded that there is a strong positive relationship between salaried employment and education
(see Table 8). In fact, the pattern that emerges is: the higher their education status, the less women
are "inactive." As they attain higher education, women's participation in commercial or self-
employed, petty trading declines significantly while their participation in formal wage employment
activities increases.

The correlation, however, may not be as strong in other economic settings. For example, in
the Lewis study the data were limited to women enrolled in the French system of education, which
excluded poor women. Secondly, the situation in the Ivory Coast at the time of the survey
approximated full employment, at least for the strata of women in the sample. In fact, economic
and social conditions were such that there was a great demand for educated Ivorian workers and
increased social pressure on women to avoid financial dependency on their spouses and families.
Such conditions may not prevail, however, in many developing countries, particularly during the
eighties decade. In an earlier article, W. A. Lewis (1962) pointed out that educational systems can
very easily produce more educated people than the economy can employ if the educational system
produces people with the wrong kind of skills (or wrong attitudes, i.e., preference for white-collar
jobs) or if the jobs in which they can use the newly learned skills are not available. The structure
and capacity of the labor market in developing countries are therefore important variables in
determining the educational impact on women's employment opportunities.

Several studies pointed out the contradictions resulting from rapid educational expansion and
slow-growing wage employment. Evidence of widespread unemployment among school
graduates--because of their inability to find employment at an appropriate level or their
unwillingness to work in lower status jobs--has been widely discussed (Standing 1978, Colcough
1982, Irizarry 1980) These trends, as Benavot (1989) stated, imply that the employment impact of
girls' education may be far more problematic and contradictory than initially assumed. In another
study, Harbison (1967) argued that unemployment is associated with unbalanced economic
progress. This urban-industrial emphasis in economic development has been, by its nature, unable
to absorb the potential labor force, especially women.

Nevertheless, at the least it can be argued that women's education increases the probability that
they will get jobs over those women without education. This may be due to better credentials,
more skills, or both. As access to basic education expands and more girls are educated, however,
another question arises: Does education increase the chance that a woman will get paid
employment over a man of the same educational background? Research suggests that the chances
are largely influenced by the degree of gender discrimination in the labor market. A study by
Collier, Radwan, and Wangwe (1986) of rural Tanzania, found extreme discrimination in access to
nonfarm-wage employment, which has the highest returns. With some primary education, a
woman has only one-fifth of the chance as that of a man with the same schooling level of getting
paid employment. With completed primary education, a woman had only a quarter of a chance as
that of a man with the same schooling level. But a man with secondary education has a 3-in-4
chance of such employment, whereas a woman of the same age has only a 1-in-4 chance. This
decline suggests that discrimination may apply differentially at different levels of education.
Increased access of girls to education may reduce the aggregate incidence of discrimination, but
does not entirely eliminate it.

In another study, this time of Brazilian female and male workers, Merrick and Schmink (1983)
reported that as the Brazilian economy expanded its industrial sector, the urban labor demand also
expanded. In the Brazilian cities women were initially drawn to textile factories, however, they
were absorbed less and less into the work force when the industry was transformed as a result of








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries



Table 8

Percent Distribution of Women in Ivory Coast by Employment Status
and by Educational Levela/


No Some Some University or
Education Primary Secondary Professional Total1


(in percent)

Inactive 44 55 23 2 36

Commercially 53 20 4 5 32

Salaried 2 21 57 71 25

Student Apprentice 1 4 16 22 7

Total 100 100 100 100 100


Ai Refers to French education only.
b/ Refers to self-employed petty traders.
i N=873.


Source: Lewis, B. (1982).








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


technological investment. Similarly, women's participation in the food and beverage processing
industries declined from 2.7% to 0.3% in the period 1960 to 1970. The proportion of women in
overall manufacturing fell from 18.6% to 11.0%.

Increased women's participation in paid employment due to improved educational access does
not signify the absence of biases regarding gender roles and is dependent on the type of jobs
women tend to occupy. Many occupations are identified with one sex or the other but the range of
activities considered appropriate for women is limited. In Ghana, for example, of the 72 industries
identified in the 1970 census, females constitute over 80 percent of the employees in only 4,
whereas 26 industries are more than 95 percent male dominated (Steel and Campbell 1982). On
the whole, women's employment and share in the modem sector grew rapidly, but a much higher
proportion of the female labor force worked only part time (31 percent in 1970).

There are, however, certain types of industrial expansion that have led to increased
employment of women. Export-oriented industrialization has taken off in Latin America, Asia, and
the Caribbean during the last two decades. As a result, young, single women or married women
without children have been mobilized into the industrial work force. The creation of export
processing zones, or free trade zones in particular, facilitated this growth. The most important
industries in these special zones are textiles, clothing, and electronics, which are not only labor-
intensive but require cognitive skills, dexterity, and perseverance in undertaking monotonous
tasks. Given the level of skills required for these jobs and the increased supply of female labor,
educational attainment has become an employment prerequisite. The Safa (1984) study of female
workers in Puerto Rico found that industrialization and migration have intensified the demand for
educated, female labor. Puerto Rico, as well as Mexico, Singapore, and Malaysia, fostered an
export-led industrialization based initially on labor-intensive industries.

In the border municipalities of Mexico where there has been rapid growth of maquiladoras, the
establishment of assembly plants that are subsidiaries of large US-based corporations employ
mostly women. The average education level for Mexican workers in general is 3.8 years (UN,
1977) but the study by Fernandez-Kelly (1982) of women workers in the border area of Ciudad
Juarez shows that most of them (55%) have completed at least 6 years of schooling (see Table 9).
The average level of schooling is even higher for electronics industries (8 years), compared to the
textile or apparel industries (6 years). Many (20 percent) even have taken courses in vocational
schools where they have acquired typing and accounting skills that are seldom used.

The electronics assembly plants such as RCA Componentes de Television, Electro
Componentes de Mexico (General Electric) and Conductores y Componentes Electricos (General
Motors) are located in modern industrial parks and have invested in improving the skills of their
workers. As such, their employment policies tend to be highly selective in nature.








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries




Table 9

Schooling Level of Maquiladora Workers in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
by Manufacturing Branch


Number of Years All
of Schooling Industries (%) Electronics (%) Apparel (%)

Less than 6 5 3 8
6 55 38 59
7-11 40 59 33
Total 100 100 100


Source: Fernandez-Kelly, M. P. (1982).








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


"Workers must have a relatively high level of schooling (at least completed 8 years), they must
be young, single, and childless... Some plants go as far as to establish a maximum level of
schooling as a requirement for applicants. The numerous requirements listed above seem out of
proportion with the nature of the operations performed in these plants and with the low wages
earned by workers. But they can be implemented due to the abundance of women searching for
jobs in an environment in which unemployment and underemployment combined reaches 30
percent" (Ferandez-Kelly 1982, p. 105).

The textile garment manufacturing plants, in contrast, have low capital investments and tend to
employ workers whose position in the labor market is weaker. The general profile of these
workers indicates that they have a lower level of schooling for unskilled and semi-skilled assembly
operations. In Singapore, all the young women workers in the clothing manufacturing industries
have had some years of schooling (at least 4 years of primary education). The firms use formal
schooling as a recruitment strategy because schooling usually differentiates people who remained
in the educational system, which encourages conscientiousness and discipline, from those who
have not (Heyzer 1986). Employers think that workers who have at least some years of schooling
are better able to bear the long hours of meticulous, tedious, and monotonous work than workers
who have had no schooling9. Heyzer (1986) also found that electronics firms have higher
educational requirements than textile industries in all the Southeast Asian countries. While the
textile industry recruits young women with some primary schooling, the electronics industry
demands at least some secondary schooling. Increasingly, electronics workers are expected to have
completed their secondary education, that is, they are expected to have 8 years of schooling.

Yet, while export manufacturing has served to integrate women into the mainstream
industrialization efforts, its impact on the status of women in the family and in the larger society is
contradictory (Safa 1984). "By taking advantage of women's inferior position in the labor market,
export manufacturing may reinforce their subordination through poorly paid, dead-end jobs" (p.
27). Fernandez-Kelly (1982) observed that traditional attitudes that women are only
'supplementary wage-earners' persist so that they are paid wages below their productivity levels.
In addition, the organization of the labor hierarchy makes occupational advancement a near
impossibility for women. Technical and supervisory positions are filled almost entirely by men."

Moreover, there are issues and concerns regarding the working conditions in many of these
factories. The speed of production and the health and safety of female workers in these export-
oriented industries have been questioned because of deplorable working conditions and their
unknowing exposure to hazardous materials, for example, radioactive substances and carcinogens
such as methylene chloride. It is not surprising therefore that a significantly high number of
children born of these female factory workers suffer from birth defects.

A recent Inter-American Commission of Women (1989) study shows that these gender biases
are not only confined to the manufacturing sector, but also have wider relevance for the entire labor
market. Table 10 shows that in the formal sector, women are concentrated predominantly in
occupations traditionally regarded as "proper to women," which are generally less productive and
lower paid than the jobs where men predominate. Nearly half of all employed women work in
activities connected with community, social, and personal services, which includes mainly
domestic help.








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries




Table 10

Patterns of Women's Employment in Latin America by Industrya/



Industry Employed Women (%) WomenlEAP (%)h/


1. Agriculture 2.9 6.5
2. Mining 0.2 10.5
3. Manufacturing 17.8 31.4
4. Electricity, Gas, Water 0.4 14.8
5. Construction 0.6 2.7
6. Commerce 22.9 36.7
7. Transportation and Communications 1.8 9.3
8. Banking, Insurance, Real Estate 5.9 35.9
9. Community, Social, and Personal Services 46.8 53.2
10. Insufficiently specified 0.7 24.7


Total Employed 100.0 31.3
Mean Total


a/ Data are for Barbados, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Panama, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The figures are for
1987, except for Uruguay (1985) and Panama (1986).

/ The percent is based on the percentage ratio of employed women to total economically active population
(EAP).
Source: Inter-American Commission of Women (1989).







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


The type of employment open to women, therefore, determines how the skills developed by
basic education are used. The preceding section also shows that education has a significant
positive effect on employment opportunities if there is a corresponding increase in the demand for
skilled labor. During periods of economic contraction and rising unemployment education may
only have a limited effect. The expansion of labor-intensive industries is not the only determinant
of the impact of girls' primary education on industrial growth, however. The persistence of sexist
attitudes in hiring and promotion also limits the potential of educated women. Moreover, working
conditions are crucial to the long-run productivity of the labor force. The unhealthy and unsafe
environments in which women workers operate may actually shorten their productive lives and
pose threats to the productive lives of the next generation-their children.

2.2.2.c Impact on Female Wage Earnings

The next related question addressed is: How has girls' primary education affected women's
wage earnings? The answer to this question often is based on the premise that since education
enhances the skills of women, then increases in productivity are reflected in increases in wage
earnings. Furthermore, studies that examine the association between education and wage earnings
look at the private rate of return under the assumption that educated individuals benefit from
schooling only to the extent that they hold paid jobs (Schultz 1989). "Thus, if a year of additional
schooling raised the wage rates of girls by x percent per year, then the internal rate of return is x
percent" (p. 17). In most human capital analyses, which look at income variance across
(employed) individuals in urban areas, education and age (or experience), are cited as the best
predictors, typically accounting for 10 to 30 percent of the variance.

One of the early studies to compile education earnings data for girls and women in Africa was
conducted by Thias and Caroy (1972). Based on labor force sample surveys, their study
indicates that earnings doubled for significant numbers of young women (aged 17-29) with
completed primary education (7 years of schooling) as compared to women with little or no
education (0-2 years of schooling). Their simple analysis did not include, however, the education
earnings of males, so gender comparison is not possible. Mohan (1985) has in Colombia
estimated earnings function for women and found returns to be higher in secondary and higher
education. The estimates of Lamas and Musgrove, likewise, did not predict significantly higher
earnings for women who attended school than for those with zero years of schooling. Merrick
(1976) found that for formal sector employment, education had a significant impact on earnings,
particularly for women in Brazil. But, in comparing the wages between men and women, Merrick
(1976) demonstrated that women s earnings rise much less with education than do men's, so that
salary differences between the earnings of the two sexes increase systematically with women's
educational levels. Woodhall (1973a) compiled a few of the studies that estimate different rates of
return for males and females. Table 11 shows that the rate of return to primary education,
measured in terms of pre-tax earnings differentials after adjusting for the total resource costs or
private cost of education, tend to be lower for girls than boys in Puerto Rico and Kenya. This
result strongly suggests that women are disadvantaged in terms of total wage earnings in the labor
market.

There are several explanations why earnings of more educated women do not show
unequivocally positive results. Becker (1964) in his seminal work observed that the lower return
from women's education is not so much attributable to their lower productivity levels as to their








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries




Table 11

Rates of Return to Investment in Education in Puerto Rico and Kenya
by Year of Schooling and by Sex*



Schooling Male Female

(in percent)

Puerto Rico (1960)



1-3.5 years 15.0 8.7
3.5-5.5 years 14.9 10.4
5.5-8.0 years 22.7 15.0
8.0-10.5 years 21.3 18.4
10.5-12.0 years 26.3 44.9

Kenya (1968)


Primary 21.7 7.1
Secondary 23.6 19.5


*The returns are based on pre-tax earnings and measure the social rate of return.

Source: Woodhall, M. (1973a).






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


lower participation in the (formal and measurable) labor force. There is an underlying assumption
that education has no effect on the productivity of people working outside of the market labor
force. Such an assumption, as we will show later on, is far from true.

Tilak's (1987) study of the returns to education in Andra Pradesh, India illustrates how
sensitive the calculations of returns are to the treatment of the rate of labor force participation by
women. She demonstrated that when the returns are adjusted for unemployment, both the private
and social rates of returns to education at virtually every level are greater for women than men.
Private rates of returns to schooling have been estimated for men and women from a 1986
Indonesian Survey that compared standard estimates of the wage function to those that include both
community-fixed effects (proxy for school quality) and household-fixed effects (proxy for family
background correlates) (Behrman and Deolalikar 1988). All private rates of returns to education
for females exceed that of men.

Khandker (1989) examines the returns to schooling for both men and women wage earners
based on the 1985-86 Peruvian Living Standard Survey. By incorporating in his probit equation
selected control variables for a family's landholdings, unearned income, and marital status, he
showed that women's private returns increase and are marginally higher for women than for men at
the secondary and higher education levels. At the primary level, however, returns are persistently
low, and lower for women than for men.

Schultz (1989) examined the 1976, 1981, and 1986 socioeconomic surveys of Thailand to
further evaluate the effect of sample selection bias on the estimates of the private rates of returns to
education. This involves the incorporation of sample selection correction terms in the analysis to
represent the probability of being in the labor force and being a wage earner. These selection
equations include family nonearned income and landholdings, along with the standard market wage
determinants such as education. By correcting for the selection bias, the returns to education for
women seem to increase while it tends to diminish those of men. His study concludes that
education does not exert a monotonic effect on the labor force and wage earner status of Thai men
and women.

One other aspect of the labor market characteristic that has not been adequately dealt with in
quantitative studies is the presence of distortions in the labor market due to discriminatory
employment practices against women. These pose entry barriers to women and thereby limit the
earnings benefits that women may get from education. Studies of the effects of sex and race
discrimination in developed countries such as the United States emphasize the difficulty in isolating
and measuring the effects of discrimination. Sanborn (1964), Gwartney and Stroup (1970), and
Cohen (1971) have shown that a large part of the income difference between men and women can
be explained by differences in hours of work, seniority, on-the-job-training, and occupational
distribution.

A sample survey of Brazilian urban households on the basis of headship was analyzed to
identify the factors determining the earnings of male and female household heads. This Merrick
and Schmink (1983) study shows that although human capital variables (age and schooling) are
important determinants of the general level of earnings, the labor market structure (principally the
jobs open to women) explains most of the differences in earnings between male and female heads.
His multiple regression results suggest that age and education have a significant effect on male but
almost no effect on female household head earnings. Simply being female, however, increases the
likelihood of being in the informal sector and having low earnings.







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


The pattern of occupational distribution by sex, as shown in the preceding subsection, supports
the notion that there are certain occupations that are "masculine" and "feminine." The stratification
of occupations by sex is reinforced by the gender-biased educational structure including sexist
textbooks and instructional materials, differential curricula for girls and boys, and vocational
counseling10. In most cases, the "predominantly female" occupations are characterized by higher
than average educational qualifications and lower than average pay. Other "female-occupational"
characteristics are that they are often standardized all over the country and so do not demand a high
degree of worker mobility. They also involve tasks that traditionally are regarded as female such
as nursing, typing, or caring for young children. This has been the situation for so long that
society takes it for granted.

A more comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of education suggests that the monetary returns to
female education are low because of discrimination in the labor market that yields lower earnings,
lower labor force participation, and fewer working hours for women as compared to men. Since
earnings differential do not adequately measure differences in productivity, they can never be a
satisfactory measure of economic benefits. In addition, the earnings differentials of women
account for only a fraction of their productive work. Since educated women tend to be heavily
concentrated in "female occupations," where the validity of earnings as a measure of labor
productivity is more than is usually expected, some other measure of benefits is warranted
(Woodhall 1973b).

The common method used to assess the impact of girls' primary education on economic
productivity vis-a-vis wage earnings thus raises a number of important questions. If the low
returns to female education are due mainly to the lower labor force participation of women, then it
raises some doubt about the validity of conventional rates of returns measures, which calculate
benefits of education solely in terms of earnings differentials and ignore nonmarket and/or unpaid
work. As discussed later in this paper, women's nonmarket work has a substantial positive
economic value and though this is not usually measured for purposes of national income
accounting, there is no reason why it should be ignored when measuring the benefits of education.
If some allowance is made for indirect benefits of education, it is likely to raise the rate of return to
women's education. As Woodhall (1973) pointed out,"even if it is admitted that true rates of
returns for women are higher than conventional estimates, this still leaves the problem of how to
measure the benefits of education in the case of women who leave the labor force and receive no
financial returns at all. The real problem is that rates of return measure benefits solely in terms of
earnings from market work and a large part of women's work takes place outside the market and is
therefore unpaid even though it does have opportunity costs" (p. 286).

If the low rates of returns are due chiefly to wage discrimination, then this would strongly
support the case for equal pay. On the last point, one can possibly argue that the returns to
education depend upon the income differential of educated and uneducated women, and not the
absolute level of their income. Hence the question is whether educated women tend to encounter
less wage discrimination than women with less education. To the extent that education makes her
aware of her rights to equal pay and just remuneration for her productivity, then an educated
woman is likely to face less market discrimination than uneducated women.

This section has examined the relationship between women's productivity as reflected in the
level of wage earnings and level of education. Three issues were addressed: a) the comparison of
wage earnings among women with different levels of schooling; b) the comparison of wage
earnings between men and women for each level of schooling; and c) the use of wage earnings as
measurement of urban-based employment productivity. The mixed results from various studies
were explained taking the varied methodologies and the quality of the data used into account.






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

Several questions are raised on the usefulness of the rates of return approach and on the
validity of the assumptions behind the method, particularly with reference to developing countries.
First, these rates of return assume that wages are reasonable approximations of the value of the
marginal product of labor for the average individual in each educational category. This premise is
questionable if there is a systematic bias in the wage payments to individuals of different schooling
levels. The findings of Behrman and Deolalikar (1988) and Woodhall (1973) emphasize precisely
this problem of interpreting estimates of rates of return for women, namely the difficulty of
allowing for the effects of discrimination in the labor market.

Second, it is assumed too readily that expenditure on education would more than pay for itself
by the economic activity it would generate. As Arthur Lewis (1962) and Bowman (1980) have
pointed out, in poor countries the amount of education that will pay for itself in economic terms is
bound to be limited (at least in the short run) because of the limited absorptive capacity of the
economy.

Third, relative earnings reflect not only differences in education but also the cultural and social
norms, (for example, gender discrimination) as evidenced in the labor market recruitment and
promotion practices. Therefore, at the most, the rate of return estimates assume only a part of the
earnings differentials associated with education. In addition, there is the problem of measuring
productivity of women who are not in the formal labor force. All of these factors imply that the
private rate of return to girls' primary education is highly underestimated in the conventional
approaches.

2.2.3 Impact on Women's Performance in the Informal Sector and Self-
Employed Activities

The extensive barriers to women's participation in formal sector employment have resulted in
creative occupational alternatives. For some women, especially those with access to capital funds,
these alternatives involve business proprietorships such as retail stores, dress shops, etc. For
many women who have no substantial capital base, these options entail informal sector
employment as petty traders and market vendors, craft producers, processors, and
microentrepreneurs. During periods of rising unemployment and economic recession, large
numbers of women join the "informal sector" despite the unstable and often uncertain aspects of its
activities that make it less desirable than regular jobs in factories or offices. Informal sector
occupations, in contrast to those in the formal sector, do not offer social security or employment
benefits, and are not covered by permits or licenses, employment contracts, or guarantees. Also,
informal sector workers rarely have access to credit or technical assistance that could make them
more productive and their work more remunerative.

Given the legal nature and the necessary license requirements of some business establishments,
a handful of women's self-employed activities are counted. This is not the case, however, for the
multifarious informal sector activities, so that it is difficult to know their exact size. Studies
suggest that there is a strong correlation between unemployment growth rate and growth of the
informal sector. For example, Merrick (1976) examined informal employment (including domestic
workers) in an urban labor market in Brazil using 425 samples from a 1972 survey. His findings
suggest that informal participation is highest for those individuals who, due to their lack of
schooling, are more likely to be unemployed or to be at the margin of the work force. The
informal sector thus absorbs both early school leavers and unemployed or underemployed educated
members of the labor force.

Generally, women account for most of those employed in the informal sector. S. A. Ramzi et
al (1988), for instance, pointed out that a whole informal, unofficial, and invisible economy in







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

al (1988), for instance, pointed out that a whole informal, unofficial, and invisible economy in
Egypt is in the hands of women. This informal economy includes nonmonetary economic activities
to which are added cash earning and market activities. Other studies also have indicated that
African women account for a substantial proportion of the informal sector and engage in
enterprises such as beer-brewing and selling, weaving and cloth dyeing, food processing and
selling, trading or market vending, and even informal lending (Jiggins 1988). The following
questions, however, remain: First, how does education affect women's choice to enter wage or
self employment? Second, does girls' primary education affect women's economic performance in
self-employed and informal sector activities? Finally, among those who are working in the
informal sector, how does education affect their access to credit, and their productivity and
earnings?

2.2.3.a Effect on the Participation Rate of Women

In a study of 21,000 workers in Colombia, Psacharopoulos et al (1987) estimated a probit
function to determine what influences workers to choose between wage and self-employment. The
results in Table 12 indicate that education by itself is not an important factor in choosing which
sector of employment to enter. The insignificance of the education coefficient in the
Psacharopoulos study may be explained, however, by his definition of who constitutes the self-
employed (i.e., nonwage employed). The sample includes a heterogeneous mix of both owner-
employers with substantial capital base and hired workers (most of which are business
proprietorships) and the one-worker "own account" enterprises including vendors, shopkeepers,
etc (which comprise the informal sector). Further distinction between the self-employment
category might have revealed a curvilinear relationship.

Studies that focus only on registered business undertakings of women show that education has
a positive impact on self-employed activities such as business proprietorship participation. In
those areas of Southeast Asia and West Africa where trading traditionally has been the women's
preserve, many educated women have retained their entrepreneurial role in business, adjusting
successfully to market conditions (Tinker 1976). The strength of organized business women in
Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria has given them influence in affecting government decisions. In
Jakarta, the wives of middle-ranking government civil servants run shops and make jewelry. In
the Philippines, educated women are adept as real estate agents, stockbrokers, and business
managers. Education, in the case of middle-and upper-class women in the developing countries,
has therefore opened up some new "self-employed" occupations for women. An important factor
that enabled these educated women to participate was their access to a substantial capital base that
allowed them to undertake entrepreneurship and to have servants who took over their household
tasks and family responsibilities (Tinker 1976).

Studies of women workers in the informal sector, especially microvendors and street traders
who have no access to any significant capital base show the opposite results. For many of the
enterprises education does not seem to have any effect. The study of microvendors in Bolivia by
Escobar (1989) characterized women microvendors in La Paz as having lower educational profiles.
They have, on average, 2.5 years less than the average for the economically active population.
Escobar argued that women predominate in the urban informal sector precisely because the low
levels of schooling and qualifications generally found among poor urban women limited their
incorporation into other sectors of the labor market in which these attributes play an important role.
Within this sector, there tends to be an important difference between male and female
microvendors. Escobar's survey of households of self-employed workers showed that 18 percent
of women, as compared to 6 percent of men, had no formal education. Women microvendors on
average had only 4 years for schooling as compared to 6 years for male microvendors. Likewise,







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries



Table 12

Probit Estimation Results on Probability of Being Self-Employed,
Colombia, 1981


Independent Variables


Age

Age squared

Years of schooling

Urban born

Years resident in city

City size:
- Mid-size city

- Large city

Head of household

Constant

Chi-squared


a/ (*) Mean statistically significant at the 1 percent level or better.

Source: Psacharopoulos, G., et al (1987).


Impact on Probabilityea


Positive*

Negative*

Insignificant

Positive*

Insignificant


Positive*

Positive*

Positive*

Insignificant

224.11






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

Blau's (1984) study of Nicaraguan women shows that while the positive effect of education on
formal sector participation is significant, the reverse is true for informal sector participation. The
influence of education on hourly wages is positive, however, and this is stronger for formal sector
wages in other urban areas.

In Southeast Asia, one of the most common forms of income-generating activities is selling
cooked food. This hardly requires education-related skills and is more lucrative than many of the
jobs open to women with little or no formal education (Heyzer 1986). Taking place at street
covers, roadsides, market places, or pasar malam (night markets), food trading is considered a
highly competitive activity. Profitability is determined not by level of productivity, but by years of
experience and developed ties with regular customers. Women new to trading, in fact, have great
difficulty in being accepted into lucrative areas (Heyzer 1986).

Other case studies on microvending seem to confirm the relative insignificance of primary
education on microvendors' activities. Jules-Rosette (1988) pointed out that literacy and numeracy
may aid women in obtaining sales licenses, but the general illegal and clandestine nature of most
marketing activities tends to make these skills irrelevant. Moreover, literacy and numeracy skills
are not adequate to guarantee a sales license, given the stringent quotas imposed on their
availability. It is not surprising, therefore, that a self-selection process takes place in this particular
activity. Pearce's (1984) study of street food vendors in Nigeria indicated that almost half (41.6
percent of the sample) were illiterate persons, while 20 percent of the sample had primary
education, and 11.6 percent had finished secondary school.

Street vending is only one of the ubiquitous activities undertaken by women to generate
income. Microenterprises, which include retailing, sewing, weaving, and other commercial self-
endeavors not regulated by law, are part of the so-called informal sector. Thompson (1981)
argued that the ability of educated individuals to generate their own employment has proved
dependent upon the availability of loans and grants to assist them initially and upon trading
situations favorable to the small entrepreneur-conditions that have not been sufficiently satisfied in
many countries. If education facilitates women's access to credit, then types of informal
enterprises or self-employment where access to credit is required may play an important role.

2.2.3.b Impact on Women's Access to Credit

There is evidence that literacy and numeracy may play a role in women's access to credit. The
impact of education on credit areas, however, depends on the type of credit provided.

Studies suggest that literacy and numeracy play a limited role in formal or bank credit. Lycette
and White (1989) for instance, stated that one of the reasons women often are excluded from
formal bank loans is their higher illiteracy rates and overall lower educational attainment relative to
men. "Many poor women are incapable of completing application forms that require more than
rudimentary reading and writing skills. In addition, rural women in the Andean countries,
Guatemala, and Haiti may know only indigenous languages and rarely know how to write." (p.
28)11.

While literacy and numeracy skills are necessary prerequisites for access to success of formal
credit, they are by no means sufficient conditions. Interviews with financial institutions in the
Dominican Republic and in the Philippines, for example, revealed that few credit options are
available to urban women with incomes below the upper-middle class level. The principal criterion
followed by banks is the creditworthiness of potential borrowers, which is judged primarily on the
basis of asset ownership (which can serve as collateral), and personalized ties with bankers--both
of which serve to reduce the default risk. Educational levels and even profitability of the economic







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

venture may be given only secondary consideration in the credit application, if given any
consideration at all. The limited ability of formal financial institutions to meet the credit needs,
especially of microenterpreneurs, strongly implies the importance of the informal credit sector.

Reichmann's (1989) study of two women's microenterprise programs in the Dominican
Republic and Peru demonstrates the importance of credit cooperatives and other types of informal
intermediaries in filling this credit gap. In most cases, the available supply of funds and the extent
of credit demand determine loan size. It is in the informal sector, particularly credit cooperatives,
that literacy and numeracy play a crucial role. The low level of literacy skills among women in
Peru, for example, explains in part why the number of women applying for loans even in
integrated credit programs such as the Rural Development Fund, is lower than that of men, and
why women are engaged in activities requiring smaller loans (Arias 1989). Literacy and numeracy
allow them to understand the terms of the loan, to read written contracts before signing, and to
determine the cost of the loan, all of which are important steps in any credit exchange.

The experiences of a women-specific credit program in the Dominican Republic, the Grameen
Bank in Bangladesh, and FUNDE's experience in developing savings and loan cooperatives in
Nicaragua to meet market women's credit needs seem to demonstrate that the success of credit
cooperatives depends largely on the literacy of its members as well as on the utilization of
interpersonal relationships (Abreu 1989, Bruce 1980, Grameen Bank 1985). Abreu (1989) cited
as one of the serious obstacles to the expansion of credit programs in the Dominican Republic, the
low communications skills among the campesinas, the target borrower group. The extent to which
these programs can expand and grow depends upon the levels of formal and functional literacy
among women.

The anecdotal evidence presented here suggests the limited role of literacy in increasing
women's access to formal credit. Among informal sector types such as credit cooperatives,
however, literacy and numeracy are necessary ingredients for determining the success of such
endeavors. Further research is needed to substantiate these preliminary findings. Given the
increased role of women in informal sector and self-employed activities, there is a need for sex-
disaggregated credit data to assess more extensively the impact of girls' primary education on credit
access.

2.2.3. Impact of Education on Female Entrepreneurs' Earnings

The broad range of activities that fall under self employment and informal sector categories and
the diverse characteristics and requisite resources and skills of these endeavors suggest the absence
of any straightforward relationship between primary education and women's entrepreneurial
earnings. Again, the variety of statistical methods and, more importantly, the differences in the
population sample used based on varied definitions of "informal sector" explain why the outcomes
of the studies seem to be contradictory.

Bourgignon, Gagey, and Magnac (1985) conducted one of the few studies that focuses
exclusively on women's earnings. They constructed a labor supply and earnings model for
employees in the formal and informal sectors and the self-employed in Bogota, Colombia. Their
results led to the conclusion that education had a significant effect on earnings in activities that
require either substantive capital and or skills learning. The findings of Jarrouse and Mingat
(1989) on the determinants of Nigerian informal sector earnings showed that entrepreneurs were
significantly more successful if they had attended primary school (p. 11). As a corollary, they
found that primary enrollment enabled young people to profit appreciably more from periods of
apprenticeship in the informal sector. In this type of informal sector activities, it was found that the
private return of primary education exceeds 50 percent (p. 10). In addition, basic education also






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

raised earnings in the informal sector by helping people choose the most profitable types of
endeavor.

On the other hand, Chiswick's (1976) estimates of the wage and profit portions of earnings in
Thailand, however, showed that schooling and experience were better predictors of employees'
incomes than of self-employed earnings. Using a household survey of 5,739 earners in 1971,
Chiswick found that there is a close correspondence between wages and self-employment income
for people of higher educational levels, whereas at lower educational levels, the self-employed earn
more than wage earners. Education and experience are more significant predictors of men's
earnings than women's. She also found that 57 percent of the income of men was derived from
income from self-employment, while for women it was 76 percent. Women seemed to rely more
on self-employment activities.

Other studies provide evidence that shows no significant relationship between education and
informal sector earnings. Berger's (1989) study of the microenterprise borrowers in the Ecuador
informal sector showed that education had no significant effect. Using multiple regression
analyses to determine the factors that affect informal sector earnings, her results showed that the
years of schooling coefficients were insignificant, but positive, for men's monthly earnings and
were insignificant and negative for women's. Berger's results are consistent with the results of the
study by Tielhet-Waldorf and Waldorf (1983) who found experience and other variables more
important than education in explaining income differences (earnings estimated on an hourly basis).
Using a small sample data of 79 self-employed persons in Bangkok, they found that schooling has
little effect on hourly earnings as shown by the coefficients of the estimated earnings function.
Years of formal schooling also was statistically insignificant for vendors and shopkeepers. This
suggests that formal education beyond the barest skills may not add to earnings in these type of
occupations. An examination of an urban labor market in Brazil (Merrick 1976), suggests that
female earnings vary less than males. The type of female employment (formal vs informal) and
gender seem to affect earnings more than education per se. Completion of primary education
yields a 60 percent gain in earnings for males, versus a 6 percent increase for females, while
university education brings 60 percent gain for females and nearly 200 percent for males.

The mixed results provided by the different studies on the impact of education on the informal
sector earnings of women is confirmed by Moock et al (1989). This study looks at nonfarm,
family businesses in Peru and uses the enterprise rather than the individual as the unit of analysis.
The 3,158 family enterprises included in the study are mostly small businesses classified either as
"female-only" or "male-included" firms that employ at least one adult male family worker. Their
results show a wide variation in the sizes and statistical significance levels of the effects of
education on hourly earnings in Peru's family enterprises.

Other studies that examined the effect of education on the earnings of the self-employed do not
make any distinction by gender. In a study of the earnings of Colombian workers,
Psacharopoulos et al (1987) compared the mean earnings and educational levels of three kinds of
workers: self-employed (both business proprietors and informal sector workers), private sector
employed, and public sector employed. Their findings raised two noteworthy points. First,
completed primary schooling has the highest impact on the mean monthly earnings among the self-
employed. Second, there appears to be no earnings differential between self-employed and wage
workers. The higher earnings of the self-employed includes the asset effect since they are likely to
have a higher amount of capital funds or asset base to work with.

Several conclusions seem to emerge from the preceding discussions. First, the discernible
educational effects of education on the informal sector and self-employed earnings of women
depends on the requisite skills and capital requirement of the activities. Some of the informal








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


activities in which women participate such as market vending and food processing are for the most
part traditional employment for which schooling is rarely relevant. However, in activities that
require access to credit funds, especially from cooperatives where some type of apprenticeship or
training is needed, or that involve managerial skills, primary schooling may have a significant
positive effect. The diversity of economic activities in the informal and self-employed sectors and
the varied levels of capital and human capital requirements largely explain the mixed returns to
primary education. For example, a business enterprise such as textile manufacturing, which
includes both weaving and tailoring, is more demanding with respect to literacy, numeracy, and
problem solving skills than food vending in the streets of Indonesia or the urban poor communities
of Quito, Ecuador12. This leads us to conclude that education hardly improves the earnings of self-
employed individuals when they engage in traditional economic activities. Education becomes
valuable when they take up new methods of production or engage in activities that require literacy,
numeracy, or the ability to adjust to change.

The above studies rely mainly on statistical data and hence examine only measurable aspects of
women's economic performance in the informal sector. As Berry (1980) pointed out however,
there is a need for a quality-oriented approach to studying the impact of education, particularly in
the informal sector. In the context of poverty alleviation, it is important to remember that existing
illiteracy and lack of education have an effect on existing economic relations, entirely apart from its
negative effects on income. It puts the illiterate at the mercy of the more educated in some business
dealings. There also is the possibility that literacy may have threshold effects in unlocking
innovative human skills by opening the door to the future growth of the individual. Technological
progress, especially in highly decentralized informal economies, may come from many sources
including from women with a few years of schooling.

2.2.4 Impact on Nonmarket and Home Production Activities of Women

An important dimension of the economic impact of girls' education that is overlooked is its
effect on the economic productivity vis-a-vis women's home and nonmarket activities. Most
policy makers and economists have been unable to address the fact that women perform two roles
in society. In developing countries, it is taken for granted that women bear children and at the
same time perform economic activities that are essential to the family unit. Unfortunately,
statistics, the "holy building blocks" of developers, economists, and planners, are often based on
two assumptions: a) work is performed for money and b) work is located only in the modern
sector. But often the agricultural work done by family members, as well as the exchange labor,
household work, child care or many other home activities, are not recorded as "work". Since
statistics do not show women working, planners often do not plan for women.

In the last two decades there have been attempts in the field of "new household economics" to
document women's activities at home as well as in the market. Estimates of the value of
housework often are based on housewives' time budgets, with each activity valued in terms of the
wages it would command in the market. This is of little help in providing the measure of the
benefits of education for women who are not in paid employment, since returns to educational
investment must be measured in terms of income differentials, rather than absolute income. As
expressed by Woodhall (1973), "what is needed is some estimate of the effects of education on a
woman's productivity in home production" (p. 286).

In some cases, family income, instead of personal or independent earnings, is used as a
measure of returns to education such as the case of Becker (1964)13. This approach, however,
avoids the problem of the valuation of women's nonmarket work since the measurement method
rests naively on the assumption that a nonworking wife shares her husband's monetary income. It
does not attempt to measure her own contribution to the family's income. Women devote a large







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

part of their time to housework and the care of children, activities that do command a price if the
economy is fully monetized and that have considerable imputed value. To ignore these activities
underestimates the economic effects of education. As will be shown in the social impact section of
this paper, education may significantly increase the value of woman's contribution to nonmonetary
family income, by improving the quality of her child care services, etc. There is ample evidence
that the general environment she provides for her family, especially her children, is influenced by
her educational attainment (Buvrinic and Yudelman 1989). These are some of the significant
external, or spillover, benefits of investment in education that are not included in any quantitative
analysis of the returns to girls' education.

2.2.4.a Nonmarket Effects of Girls' Education

Another important yet often ignored economic contribution of girls' primary education is the
production of goods and services for home consumption, including home maintenance and
reproductive tasks (see Table 13). Both the lack of appreciation for this important yet ignored
dimension of aggregate economic output and the problems associated in measuring the returns to
women's labor in home production are cited and linked to the relative absence of studies relating
education to women's productivity in this area. A few studies, including Haveman and Wolfe
(1984), emphasize the need to incorporate women's productivity in nonmarket activities (often
relegated to social or noneconomic impact categories) in examining the rates of returns to
education.

One serious limitation of the rates of return effect of education mentioned previously is that it
ignores the indirect or "spillover" benefits and noneconomic benefits whose measurement
difficulties usually mean that they are not taken into account in cost-benefit calculations. For
example, Haveman and Wolfe (1984) emphasized that differences in schooling also are associated
with differences in nonwage remuneration in the form of fringe benefits and working conditions
for those in the paid labor force (item 2 in Table 13). Appropriate microdata are not available,
however, to allow these benefits to be captured in rate-of-return estimates.

An even more significant nonmarket effect of girls' primary education on economic
productivity that is rarely mentioned is its impact on home production. This includes domestic
work, intra-family relations, and child care (items 5-7). The unit value of the hours spent on home
production may increase, according to Haveman and Wolfe (1984), even though the amount of
time spent on these activities may decline. Leibowitz (1975), on the other hand, suggests a
positive relationship for both the unit value and amount of time spent on home activities and
women's education.

Items 12 and 13 in Table 13 relate to the potential contribution of primary education to the
efficiency of choices (matches) in the consumption and labor market. Since it has been shown that
women make decisions on food and other related home expenditures, the argument is that
education yields information, facts, and ideas that enable women to make consumption choices
more efficiently, implying a reduction in both costs and time14. There is also indirect evidence that
education reduces consumption of medical care.

Schooling also may increase regional mobility, resulting in better matches of jobs and skills.
Again, no estimate of the value of these contributions to economic well-being associated with more
schooling is available.









The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Table 13

Impacts of Schooling, Nature of Impacts, and Evidence
on Magnitude of Level and Value of Impact


Channel of Impact of Schooling Economic Nature of Impact Status of Economic Benefit Estimates


1. Individual market
productivity


2. Nonwage labor market
remuneration


3. Leisure


4. Individual productivity in
knowledge production

5. Nonmarket individual
productivity (e.g., do-it-
yourself)

6. Intra-family productivity



7. Child quality through home
activities


8. Own health




9. Spouse and family health


Private, marketed; human capital
investment


Private; marketed and nonmarketed;
human capital investment



Private; nonmarketed; consumption


Private; nonmarketed; human
capital investment

Private; nonmarketed; human
capital investment


Private; some external effects; both
marketed and nonmarketed; human
capital investment

Private; some external effects; both
nonmarketed and marketed; human
capital investment

Private; modest external effects;
partially marketed; human capital
investment and consumption


Private (within household); modest
external effects, partially marketed;
human capital investment and
consumption


Increments to marginal value
products, reported as rates of return.
Producers; surplus neglected

Rough estimates of true returns to
schooling 10 to 40 percent greater
than rate of return estimates
indicate


No firm evidence on the extent of
value

No estimates of economic value



No estimates of economic value



No significant evidence of
economic value except
intergenerational earnings effects

Little evidence on economic value;
except indirect evidence via
earnings, weeks worked, and life
expectancy

Little evidence on economic value;
except indirect evidence via
earnings, weeks worked, and life
expectancy








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


Table 13 Continued


10a Fertility (e.g., attainment of
desired family size)

10b Fertility (e.g., changed
tastes for children)



11. "Entertainment"



12. Consumer choice efficiency



13. Labor market search
efficiency (including
migration)


Private (within household);
nonmarketed; consumption

Private (within household); some
external effects; nonmarketed
consumption


Private; nonmarketed; consumption



Private; some external effects;
nonmarketed; human capital
investment

Private; some external effects;
nonmarketed; human capital
investment


No estimates of economic value


No estimates of economic value;
perhaps impossible given nature of
taste change, except through
influence on economic growth

No estimates of economic value;
perhaps impossible given nature of
taste change

No estimate of the value of
increased efficiency


No estimate of the value of
increased efficiency


Source: Haveman, R. H. and B. L. Wolfe (1984).








The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


2.3 Summary

The preceding discussion highlights the significant economic benefits of girls' primary
education in Third World countries. By providing literacy, numeracy, communication,
information processing, and cognitive skills, primary education enhances women's ability to
perform the multitude of methods and even new tasks that vitally contribute to economic
development and to the economic well-being of their families and themselves. The significance
and urgent need to raise and improve the economic performance of women is felt even more during
economic recessions. Slow economic growth, rising debt service burden payments, severe
budgetary constraints, chronic food shortages, high population growth rates, growing
unemployment, and persistent poverty only serve to underscore the economic role of women --as
food producers, and as providers of child care, health care, etc. Economic growth and
productivity would have been more sluggish and food shortage more severe if not for women's
contributions. In the midst of these economic realities, the ability of most families in the Third
World to cope with the economic crises largely rests upon the women and their access to both
human and nonhuman capital resources.

This chapter has examined the multidimensional and complex channels through which
education affects economic development in general and the households' economic well-being and
economic independence of women in particular. The positive outcomes of girls' primary
education, however, are conditioned by the circumstances on which the productivity potential is
utilized. The degree to which primary education enhances development largely depends on its
interaction with the prevailing economic and social conditions. For instance, while education
favorably affects both the willingness of women to enter the labor force as well as the shift from
marginally productive to high productive activities, intervening variables such as age, cultural
restrictions on women's activities, extent, type and dispersal of industrialization, gender
discrimination, and women's limited or lack of access to complementary resources such as land,
technical training, capital equipment or machines, etc. may limit the alternative options and job
opportunities available to educated women.

Although education has an unequivocal positive impact on female labor force participation, the
question remains as to whether this has translated to higher employment rates and higher real
earnings for women in both the rural and urban areas. These are important issues for the
answers) determine whether in contributing to economic productivity, the women themselves and
their families benefit economically from primary education.

The preceding discussion has shown that the productive potential of educated rural women is
realized and their contribution to agricultural development is maximized if broad-based rural
development strategies such as food crop promotion, increased women's access to land, credit,
and technology resources, industry dispersal, and increase in rural wages are pursued; and if
gender discrimination in hiring women, especially for semi-skilled and skilled jobs and in training
program participation, are addressed. Women's skills are utilized more fully if the opportunities
and incentives are there for women to work to the best of their abilities.

As more and more women migrate to the cities, the question of job availability in the urban
areas becomes even more important. If women are able to use their education in the process of
production, then the structure and capacity of the urban labor market is a critical factor. The type
of industrial expansion--whether labor intensive or not, affect the realization of educational
benefits. In the long run, however, the question of job availability for educated women is not only
the major consideration. The type of working conditions, i.e., the health and safety environment
under which women operate, crucially determine the length of their productive lives as well as the







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

productive life of the next generation--their children.

Studies have shown that among those employed, education has shown significantly positive
private returns in the form of higher wage earnings. A few studies however, went further to
explore how education has affected the wage differential between men and women. There is some
evidence that the wage discrimination between educated men and women is less than the
discrimination between uneducated women and men. This may be explained by the facts that
literacy and communication skills make women aware of their rights to equal pay and to just
remuneration for their productivity.

The impact of primary education on women's performance in the self-employment and
informal sector activities is the least straightforward of the channels. This is partly due to the
paucity of studies on the relation of education on women's participation and performance. For
instance, there is little direct evidence of educational impact on women's access to credit sources
given the absence of any sex-disaggregated data. The mixed evidence that is available in the
literature is also due to both the ubiquity of activities and accompanying skills requirement as well
as to differences in the sampling techniques and methodologies used in empirical analyses. What
the limited evidence seems to suggest is that in industries that require relatively more capital and
asset base and that are more demanding in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving skills, returns
to primary education in the form of enhanced output and greater entrepreneurial earnings may be
significant. In this case, human capital becomes a critical requirement for women undertaking new
methods of production or techniques such as in dressmaking, cottage industries, etc. But
education may not make as much of a positive impact when women are engaged in traditional
economic activities that rely primarily on hands-on experience and public relations rather than on
education-based skills such as street trading and microvending, or when the activities in which they
are engaged are constrained by lack of capital resources.

There is an important qualification that must be considered in assessing the economic impact of
education. Some effects occur through channels that are not included in markets or that cannot be
measured or quantified. The preoccupation on statistical data often leads to overlooking these
important channels or processes. For example, one significant dimension of gross domestic
product and national income that is never accounted for in national statistics is women's production
of home consumption and nonmarketed goods and services. There is a dearth of economic studies
that examines the educational impact on the production of these goods and services. The
anthropological and sociological literature has fared much better in highlighting these issues. If
these so called "externalities" or "spillover" benefits of education are systematically accounted for,
the direct and indirect economic benefits of education are far higher than what is reported. In the
context of poverty, for example, lack of education often leads to persistence of unequal power
relations. It puts the illiterate at the mercy of the powerful. Literacy and numeracy are critical in
having informed members of the labor force. Successful mobilization against economic injustices
and social inequalities require a literate population. Moreover, education leads to access to
information and hence may have threshold effects in unlocking innovative skills in women. This
would largely contribute to technological progress.

As stated by Haveman and Wolfe (1984), given the inadequacy and limitations of quantitative
data and statistical analyses in examining the relationship between girls primary education and
economic development, "...one is therefore left with the strong impression that incremental
schooling yields aggregate economic well-being benefits that are considerably larger than those
captured in (available) estimates of the differences on the average level of schooling."

In the following chapter, many of these "externalities" and indirect benefits are discussed in the
analysis of the social impact of girls' primary education.









The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries




END NOTES

1. The equity effect of education, therefore, strongly depends not only on which level of schooling is expanded, but also
on whether there is accompanying redistribution of resources among educated individuals and whether the level of wage
earning reflects increased productivity.

2. This is indicative of the attitude of many economists that "women spend less time in the labor force than men and
therefore have less incentive to invest in market skills" (Becker 1964, p.51) and that "in view of the expected smaller
rate of participation in the labor market, education of women is more strongly focused on the 'consumption sphere' and
returns are in large part more non pecuniary than for males. Hence, the apparently smaller money rate of return."
(Mincer 1968).

3. This approach assumes that the earnings attributed to individual workers are a measure of their contribution to output.
Higher earnings attributed to higher education, therefore, reflect their increased productivity and their contribution to
economic growth.

4. The latter is based on the assumption used in the estimation of returns method that the opportunity costs for women are
lower than for men, so that even if absolute earnings of men are higher, the rates of return to girls' education are
higher.

5. Psacharopoulos and Steier (1987) argue that one of the evils of high debt-service payment would be the instigation of
short-term, quick-yield projects that may have lower rates of return relative to long-term social investment projects (p.
1).

6. It is estimated that women farmers grow at least 50 percent of the world's food and as much as 80 percent in some
African countries. Between one-third and one-half of the agricultural laborers in the Third World are women. Roughly
two-thirds of women workers in developing countries are engaged in agriculture (Buvinic and Yudelman, 1989, p.22).
Since their produce is often for home consumption and is therefore a nonmarketed good, their contributions as food
producers are not counted in national statistics.

7. See T.W. Schultz (1975), 'The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, Vol 13,
pp. 872-876. Cited in Lockheed, Jamison, and Lau (1980).

8. Heyzer (1986) noted that in many parts of Southeast Asia, the changes in the patterns of migration are striking.
Traditionally, it was mainly men who would migrate for periods of short duration. However, at present, more young
women than men leave their rural base. In Thailand, Fuller (1983) showed that there is a higher rate of movement for
young women than young men, based on the 1980 census data. Likewise, women in the Philippines are numerically
dominant in the rural-urban migration.

9. This supports the point of Svennilson (1964) "Economic Growth and Technical Progress: An Essay in Sequence
Analysis" in OECD, The residual factor and economic growth, OECD: Paris cited in Bowman 1980.

"Education that is extended to the whole labor force will...tend to improve the efficiency with which existing capital
equipment is used and speed up 'the learning process' ..." The screening model hypothesizes that educational
credentials are viewed by employers as a good proxy for future productivity to warrant their use as a rule of thumb,
either in the structuring of pay differentials among workers or in the selection of workers for given jobs. Given that
education presumably contributes to skills formation and that the level reached is often correlated with variables
contributing to productivity such as ability and motivation, such a rule of thumb appears to be sensible." (p 61).

10. For more discussion of sex-biased education, see T. J. Wirtenberg and C. Y. Nakamura, "Education: Barrier or boon to
changing occupational roles of women," Journal of Social Issues 1976 32(3):165-170.

11. Although school enrollment and literacy among girls have increased greatly in the Latin American region, literacy
rates are still low among older women, precisely the age group that tends to engage in informal sector activities. In
Guatemala and Honduras, for example, literacy rates for women 35 years and older are 30 percent and 37 percent
respectively. A 1985 study of the rural population in the Dominican Republic showed that only slightly over half of
the women knew how to read or write (Mones and Grant 1987).









The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries



12. While textile manufacturing-related businesses yield positively significant effects for female-only and all firms, the
returns to primary education in retail trade tend to be positive but negligible and in personal services, they even tend to
be negative. This implies that what it means to be "self-employed" is very different, and far more complex than what
Psacharopoulos et al (1987) assume.

13. G. Becker, 1964. Human capital: A theoretical and empirical analysis, Columbia University Press, New York.

14. Evidence provided by Michael (1975) suggests that schooling shifts consumer budget allocations in much the same
way as an increase in income, hence contributing to the overall household well-being.






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


CHAPTER THREE

SOCIAL CHANGES: THE EFFECTS OF GIRLS' SCHOOLING

3.1 INTRODUCTION

3.1.1 Questions Addressed

This chapter examines two questions about the relationships between girls' primary education
and the social impacts of that education. One question is operational: In what contexts and in
what ways does educating girls lead to an impact on the larger society? This question is significant
because policy makers need to understand why schooling for girls is important, what kind of
schooling is most effective, and what outcomes can be anticipated according to the cultural,
rural/urban, or class context within which it occurs.

The difficulty in addressing this set of questions lies in the nature of the information included in
most reports about the impact of girls' education. Much of the existing material consists of macro-
level quantitative studies that have not been broken down to indicate variations within the data
according to cultural, rural/urban, or class differences. As the easiest, and generally the only, type
of information about girls' education recorded on that macro-level is the number of years of school
attended, variation in the type of education received also is not often available. Most of the other
materials examined in this review are qualitative micro-level reports that describe the setting of the
impacts reported, but are so context specific that it is difficult to generalize from or compare them
to similar materials reported from a different context. An additional difficulty with both the macro-
level quantitative data and the micro-level qualitative data is that both generally describe only a
single "slice-of-time," which limits exploration of the long-term impacts of girls' education.

The second question is one of process: How does educating a girl affect her in such a manner
that she causes changes in the larger society? This question is important because what has been
explored about the impact of girls' education has been focused, to an overwhelming degree, upon
women's reproductive role, i.e., fertility and child mortality and health, and not upon the girls'
own lives and their social contributions. One reason for this focus undoubtedly lies in the extreme
importance of the issues of fertility and child health to most of the poorer countries of the world. A
second reason may be simply that these are the easiest impacts to report as they can be quantified,
i.e., the number of children born, the number who die, and a version of child health that is, in
most cases, measures of weight and height. But the most important reason may be that
demonstrating how schooling will help girls to better perform their traditional role as mother is a
"safe" way to promote female education. Thus, studies tend to ignore the impacts of girls'
education that may, in the short run, be socially disruptive, but may also, in the long run, be
socially beneficial.

Again, the difficulty in addressing questions of how education affects girls to cause social
changes lies in the nature of the literature. The literature on women's education generally overlooks
the women themselves as active participants in their own lives, and the manner in which their
education affects social variables is explained only tangentially, if at all. There are, for example,
almost no studies directed specifically to the effects of a primary education on girls' self-esteem or
their adoption of new social roles as adults. The girl who receives the education has become
unimportant in understanding social impact, which is defined in terms of her offspring, rather than







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

in terms of herself.

3.1.2 Theoretical Perspectives

The literature analyzing women's education is shaped, to varying degrees, by two theoretical
perspectives. These orientations influence what aspects of a women's life are examined and what
role education is seen as playing, providing different types of data and, frequently, different
conclusions.

The first perspective is a development-based viewpoint in which modernization is usually seen
as a positive process, through which women are freed of "traditional" constraints that limit their
status and activities. The use of the word "developing" to describe the poorer nations of the world,
many of which are undergoing a rapid process of modernization, is an indication that what they are
seen as having in common is their movement toward the "developed" character of the richer
nations. Education, within this perspective, is a part of the modernization process, directly
enhancing women's well-being through the knowledge and skills that they acquire and through
shifts in attitudes and values. Increased nuclear family structure is perceived as part of the
development process, leading to a unit within which women can exercise more control than within
an extended family or other traditional social units. Women's lack of status is seen as the result of
cultural sex role stereotypes, social attitudes about women, and women's low self-esteem, role
conflicts, and lack of confidence.

A more radical perspective, found generally in anthropological and/or Marxist-based
approaches, views women as having lost status as a result of the modernization process. The
present status of women is perceived as the consequence of both traditional values and social
organization and changes made in technology, resource ownership, values, and social organization
as the result of colonization and modernization. In this context, education is not always seen as
having played a liberating role, both because women have generally been excluded from its
benefits and because the actual experience it offers girls frequently reinforces existing social status
and structure. A women's education is seen as having either a negative effect, by predisposing her
toward the adoption of a nuclear family structure that makes her dependent upon a husband and
separates her from the support of other social groups, or a positive effect, by leading to her own
wage employment, control of resources, and better understanding of her options. The literature
that utilizes this approach to examine women's status focuses on a women's degree of control over
production and resources as the basis for her power, both within the family and in the larger
community.

3.1.3 Chapter Organization

In order to address both the operational and process questions of how girls' primary schooling
has a social impact, the discussion has been organized according to three major contextual variables
and, within those variables, examined in terms of what effects education has on girls that lead to
social impacts. The primary contextual variables to emerge from the literature are social--
rural/urban differences and, within those differences, class distinctions; cultural--reappearing
patterns of educational effect within some cultural systems; and longitudinal--changes influenced
by schooling girls that are not apparent in a single time frame.

3.2 EDUCATION OF GIRLS IN A RURAL CONTEXT

3.2.1 Skills Gained Through Primary Education

It is generally assumed that the most important skills that girls gain from a primary education






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

are literacy and numeracy. During interviews with rural women in Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe
Women's Bureau, 1981) women said: "Education is very important these days. Without it, I can't
even read the signs on the road" (Mhkondora, p.10). "Also, education will help us when we are
working and speaking in cooperatives. It will be easy for us to count money" (Masembura, p.10).
However, there is evidence (to be discussed in greater length in a later section) that the amount of
skills girls learn when they do have access to schools is limited by the social context in which it is
received and the expectations of parents, teachers, and the girls themselves. The perceived
relevance of the subjects to the girls' lives also influences what is and is not learned. Vlassoff
(1980) found that girls in rural Indian villages demonstrated relative ignorance about a range of
subjects taught in primary school compared to the responses of a sample of village boys. For
example, the girls knew little about the geography of India or its location within Asia; most of the
girls had never traveled more than a few kilometers beyond their village and never expected to do
so. In a study of rural Malay women, Strange (1978) found that, for the poorer women in the
village, their responsibilities and socioeconomic roles differed little from those of their mothers
before the school had been built in the village. As has already been pointed out in the Economic
Section of this report, the scarcity of wage employment in most rural areas means that the literacy
and numeracy skills girls acquired in school seldom help them in securing jobs, lead to higher
wages for them, or are used by them in the jobs that they do have.

Yet, while the actual skills learned in school may have little direct application in the lives of
most rural women, these skills learned and the experience of education appear to have certain social
impacts. Safilios-Rothchild (1982) noted that a primary school education is crucial for girls as it
establishes the literacy that increases options for vocational training, rural development projects,
and nonformal education. For example, in Yemen the Ministry of Health requires candidates to
have a primary school certificate to be eligible for the health training programs offered in rural areas
(Hashem, 1990). Nelson (1981) indicates that attempts to involve women in development
programs have shown that it is more difficult to train rural women than rural men due to the
women's relatively greater illiteracy and lack of specific skills. Although not distinguishing
between males and females, Seetharamu (1985) has concluded that, more than any other factor, the
level of schooling distinguishes the participants in agricultural extension and nonformal skill-
training programs from other rural dwellers. Schooling not only makes a person aware of
nonformal training programs and establishes the basic literacy and numeracy needed, but also
imparts the necessary initiative and self-confidence to enroll in such programs. Berstecher (1985)
has found that education for women does lead to their greater involvement in nonformal training
projects. In addition, Muzaale and Leonard (1984) found evidence that women's agricultural
extension groups in Kenya retained literate members longer than illiterate members, which gave
them access to the long-term benefits of joint welfare funds, production information, and
acquisition of additional skills.

McGrath (1976) has pointed out that in societies in which women's contacts remain otherwise
circumscribed, primary schooling is even more important than for men, as men are routinely
expected to interact with other adults in the course of employment, recreation, political
participation, and religious observance. Where informal learning situations for women are
severely limited, education can be a key to the development of social skills that lead to independent
values and future gains in status. Klineberg (1973), in Tunisia, and Callaway (1986), in Nigeria,
both found that one of the primary impacts of education for girls in those societies was increased
contact outside their households and the opportunity to find social reinforcement for self-
conceptions and aspirations that they had developed. The Zimbabwe Women's Bureau (1981)
found that the lack of any formal education clearly influenced how women saw themselves:
"Without education you are nothing in this world" (Mtoko, p.10). Robertson (1984), in her study
of Ga women in Ghana, found that education had become an essential part of a person's status.
Those without any formal education had their inferiority impressed upon them constantly,






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

sometimes believing it themselves. She reported that "I am only an illiterate so I cannot answer
that" was a common reply to various questions (p.138) and that when asked why schooling was
important, women answered "because...it gives one self respect." Smock (1981) has
hypothesized that education can widen a woman's perspective on her life and enable her to
question traditional prescriptions. It could also stimulate a sense of self-confidence and control
over one's environment, which would make women less inclined to accept a passive stance. In
spite of the importance of these possible impacts of education on women's lives and an
accumulation of experiences that suggest such effects, there have been almost no studies that
directly address the questions of education's impact on women's self-esteem, confidence, and
perspective on life and how these changes affect the larger social context.

There is, however, one group of skills that girls acquire during schooling about which a great
deal of data has been accumulated: skills in nutrition, recognition of illness, sanitation, and other
areas related to increasing child health. Although there is no clear evidence whether literacy and
numeracy, self-confidence, specific health-related knowledge, or the acceptance of a "modem"
paradigm creates the difference, girls with schooling become mothers who raise healthier children.
The International Center for Research on Women (1988) has concluded, after analyzing the results
of a number of studies, that females place greater importance than males on the satisfaction of
household food needs. And women with more education appear to be better able to translate their
value of nutrition into child health.

The role of mother's education was isolated specifically by Chatterjee and Lambert (1989),
who found that infants of illiterate women in rural India had a mortality rate more than double that
of infants whose mothers had a primary school education. A study on the relationship between
child nutrition and factors such as family income and maternal education revealed that literate
mothers made better use of scarce resources for their children's welfare than did illiterate mothers
with higher incomes (Baiagi 1980). In a United Nations study using data from 115 countries,
maternal literacy had a higher correlation with life expectancy at birth than any other factor.
Cochrane, Leslie, and O'Hara (1980) reviewed the literature on the effects of parental education on
child health and concluded that maternal education is closely related to child health, whether
measured by nutritional status or infant and child mortality, stating that the evidence on the
significance of the relationship was unequivocal. Since then, Blumberg (1989) has examined
worldwide evidence to conclude that women's education is associated with dramatically reduced
infant and child mortality and improved child nutrition. She also notes that mother's education
almost invariably has a stronger effect than father's education on lowering infant mortality and
improving family health. Schultz (1989) found that an added year of maternal education tends to be
associated with a relatively constant percentage decline in child mortality rates.

In the Philippines, Berrera (1988) found mother's education related to better child nutrition,
especially in those children under two years of age, when they are most dependent on the mother
for food needs. Using data gathered from 28 countries, Hobcraft et al (1984) also found mother's
education especially important in determining their youngest children's chances for survival. The
role of education in strengthening the mother's ability to insure her children's health also is seen in
the fact that female infant mortality, relative to male, has been shown to decrease with mother's
education (Blumberg 1989).

3.2.2 Attitudes Changed Through Primary Education

There are a number of studies that investigated education's impact on attitude changes
associated with "modernity" (Rosen and LaRaia 1972, Chaudhury 1978, Fox 1973, Oppong
1977, Kleinberg 1973). For example, Rosen and La Raia (1972) collected data from women in
Brazil about their attitudes, deriving an "index of modernity" that was defined as having a greater







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

sense of personal efficacy, enjoying a more egalitarian relationship with husbands, placing a
greater emphasis on independence and achievement in the socialization of children, and perceiving
the world in a more active perspective. With the exception of continued research into household
decision making (which will be discussed later), little investigation has continued alone these lines.
This may be due, in part at least, to questions about whether or not "modern" attitudes do improve
the quality of life and about the methodology involved in obtaining survey results.

There are, however, a number of attitude changes in girls that have been clearly linked to their
schooling and, because of the significance of those changes to the future of most poorer countries,
each has been carefully researched. Education has been found to change girls' attitudes about the
number of children they desire. Vlassoff (1980), interviewing unmarried adolescent females in
rural India, found that the ideals of family size were significantly associated with level of
schooling. The least educated respondents, within a range of from zero to eight years of schooling,
desired an average of over one child more than the most educated. Schultz (1989) has shown that
women's desired fertility falls monotonically with her amount of education.

While the drops in fertility associated with increased education of women in most countries is
well established (World Fertility Survey 1987, Blumberg 1989), the size and form of that
relationship varies considerably. Much of the decrease in fertility is credited to later ages of
marriage, frequently associated with education in rural areas, and involvement in waged
employment, which has not been linked to education in rural areas (see Economic Section).
Although the education of women is strongly and inversely related to a later age of marriage
(Blumberg 1989, Kritz and Gurak 1989, Senanayake 1990), however, it does not appear that it is
only the act of being in school that delays women's marriage, as in many countries girls' education
is completed well before the usual age for marriage. In rural areas of Nigeria, Orbuloye (1981)
found that the overall fertility of those who had been to school was lower than those who had not
and that most of the differences in fertility were due to changes in marriage patterns after schooling
was completed. In addition to leading to a desire to have fewer children, education also may lead
to changes in both the girls' and her parents' attitudes about the appropriate age for marriage.

Although less researched, girls' education has also been associated with increased desires to
educate their children. Mother's education has been correlated with increased participation in
education by their children in Nicaragua (Wolfe and Behrman, 1984), Peru (King and Bellow,
1988), and Brazil (Birdsall, 1985). Kossoudji and Mueller (1983) found that in Botswana rural
female headed households were more likely than others to send their children to primary school.
Evidence of how that relationship is established has been provided by a number of qualitative
studies. In rural Tanzania, Kerner (1986) found that the more affluent peasant households were
headed by men, who tended to invest surplus in marrying an extra wife, thereby adding to the
domestic labor pool. In contrast, female household heads saved their income to pay school fees
and expenses and encouraged their children to study and prepare for entrance examinations.
Robertson (1984), in her study of women in Ghana, credits shifts in mothers' attitudes with
increased school attendance. There women play the dominant role in financing their children's
education, paying school fees for children of both sexes even in situations where men have refused
to support girls' schooling.

In addition, a mother's education has been shown to have a differential affect on their son's
and daughter's education. King (1983) found that, in the Philippines, mother's education is
related to greater increases in education for female children than for male children. King and
Bellow (1988) have shown that the education of both parents has a positive effect on their
children's education in Brazil, but that the impact differs for boys and girls. The father's education
had twice the impact of the mother's on boys, while the relative impacts of parents' education on
the education of daughters were equivalent. They explained their results by suggesting that the






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

mother's education counter-balanced the father's preference to educate boys. There is ethnographic
support for that interpretation in Kerner's (1989) contrast of boys' and girls' participation in the
educational system in two regions in Tanzania, where in one region women traditionally exercised
greater power in decision-making than in the other. In the region where women exercised
relatively more decision-making power, parental investment in girls' education was nearly that of
boys. In the region where women exercised less power, boys' education was stressed. Back et al
(1985) investigated the effects of mother's education on the education of adolescent daughters and
found that teenage daughters in school credit praise and confidence-building experiences in their
homes with their present educational attainment. Both praise and confidence building were
positively associated with the amount of schooling their mothers had achieved. The effects of
mother's education on their daughter's educational intentions were positive in all socioeconomic
categories, with the most significant differences in the lower classes.

As a number of the above studies do not report their data according to differences in rural and
urban context, the relationship between mother's and children's education may be affected by
these factors. Cochrane, Mehra, and Osheba (1988) found that the relationship between mother's
education and that of their children in Egypt varied according to area of the country. The mother's
education had a significant positive effect on children's schooling in urban areas; however, it was
not found to be significantly related to current participation in school in rural areas. Larson (1988),
in a study of two rural communities in Egypt and Tunisia, found that parents' expectation was that
their daughters' education would lead to an office job and an easier life. Caldwell, Reddy, and
Caldwell found in rural south India that high class parents stress educating girls to achieve literacy,
while poorer parents stress their expectation that educating their daughters will enable them to get
waged work. Yet, as shown in the preceding chapter, due to the lack of waged employment
available in rural areas, a girl's education does not always lead to employment. The implication is
that when the education of daughters is not perceived as being associated with improved earnings
and/or status, then the mother's education is less likely to provide a positive force in increasing her
daughter's schooling.

Another attitude change, an increased desire for urban life, which has also been associated with
the education of girls in rural areas, does not have the positive impact of desires for fewer children,
later marriage, and more educated children. As already mentioned in Chapter II, education in rural
areas is often associated with an increased desire for urban life, which can lead to migration.
Berstecher (1985) has found that the content of the education received prepares students for white-
collar and professional careers, not agriculture. As few such positions exist in rural areas,
schooling increases the motivations for migrating to urban areas. In addition, Vlassoffs (1980)
study of unmarried adolescent females in rural India found that the girls with more education, on a
scale of from one to eight years, would prefer to have husbands engaged in urban, nonagricultural
occupations to a significantly greater degree than did the uneducated girls.

3.2.3 Increased Control Over Life Through Primary Education

King (1990) has proposed that when the educational gender gap is great between husband and
wife, indicators of social welfare, such as female life expectancy, infant mortality, and fertility,
tend to be worse. She points out that some countries with narrow educational gender gaps achieve
levels of social well-being comparable to those of some richer countries with larger gender gaps.
She hypothesizes that, when the education difference between husband and wife is great, then the
wife's role in decision making is smaller relative to her husband's. As women generally bear the
responsibility for child care within the household, less control over decisions on allocation of
expenditures and fertility could lead to, for example, higher infant mortality and fertility. If
education does grant women more decision-making power in their households, then they are able
to utilize the changes in skills and attitudes that they have acquired through that education.






The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

But the evidence suggests that women in most countries of the world lack sufficient decision-
making power to act according to their own priorities. For example, Curlin and Brown (1985)
have pointed out how difficult fertility control is for women even when sources of contraception
are available. The World Fertility Survey shows that nearly half of the married women surveyed in
27 poorer countries want no more children. Yet only one third of them were using any form of
contraception. Maynard-Tucker (1989) found that in rural Peru, where 90 percent of the wives and
99 percent of the husbands interviewed had knowledge of at least one method of contraception,
almost one quarter of them reported using none, and more than half of the rest used only the
rhythm method. In this region women averaged a new pregnancy every 18 months and generally
blamed their husbands, complaining of the increased burden they experienced with each additional
child. Men's involvement in raising the children was minimal and, interestingly, they did not
blame themselves for their wives' successive pregnancies. In another study, Acharya (1980)
found that almost 70 percent of the women surveyed in Nepal, where women's participation in
education is particularly low, claimed to have knowledge of family planning, and over 60 percent
knew the location of the nearest family planning service. Yet, depending on the ethnic group, only
0 to 13 percent used any form of contraception. Studies (Spratt, Crouch, and Cubeden, n.d.) have
demonstrated that the availability of family planning alone is insufficient to significantly alter
fertility.

While education has been shown to decrease the number of children a woman desires, her
ability to actualize that desire may be limited by a lack of decision-making control. Greenstreet
(1990) found that in Ghana generally females do not practice family planning without the
permission of their husbands. When wives have attended clinics without their husbands'
knowledge, family conflict has often ensued and even divorce has resulted when her attendance
has been discovered. The Zimbabwe Women's Bureau (1981) found that although women report
the biggest problem facing them is the number of children they have, they are often opposed to
family planning because their husbands would not allow it. Gulati (1985) has found that South
Asian wives are more anxious to control their fertility than their husbands. In one low-income area
of India where men often desert their families and women generally have to support their children,
she found that women frequently did choose sterilization after their second or third child. A
number of other studies suggest that when rural women have more decision-making control over
their lives, then they decrease their own fertility (Blumberg 1985).

In the same manner, there are a number of indications that rural women improve the health of
their children when they have more control over household decision making and the allocation of
resources (Kennedy and Cogil 1987, Blumberg 1989). A study of desperately poor families with
children in rural South India found that the single largest contributor to children's nutrition was the
home garden tended and distributed by their mother (Kumar 1985).

One of the best summaries of how primary education has frequently been perceived as affecting
women's status within the family unit was presented by Caldwell (1979). He stated that

"what could be seen operating in any West African household that includes
educated women was that the education of women greatly changed the
traditional balance of familial relationships...Those who had been to school,
even for relatively short periods in village schools, assumed that they had been
given different models and had experienced a deep personal change. A woman
with schooling is more likely to challenge her mother-in-law, and the mother-in-
law is much less likely to fight the challenge. She is more likely to attempt to
communicate with her husband and her husband is less likely to reject the
attempt. With the strengthening of the spousal link, she is more likely to
succeed in crystallizing out from the matrix of the extended family."







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

Both Oppong (1977) and Smock (1981) have hypothesized that female education alters the nature
of the marital relationship, giving women a greater role in decision making, especially in regard to
fertility and child health decisions. D'Souza and Bhhyiya (1982) found that, in Bangladesh,
household decision-making changes with the education of women, with greater shares of
household resources becoming available to educated women and to their children. There have been
very few other studies of the impact of girls' education on increased control of decision making in
their households as adults, which may be one of the requirements that enables them to act upon the
changes in skills and attitudes produced by their education.

3.2.4 The Role of Women's Independent Income

A positive relationship between women's education and employment in waged labor does not
hold in all countries, or all areas within countries, during all time periods (see Chapter II).
Education leads to involvement in wage economy only if jobs exist, which they do not in many
poorer countries. Standing (1976) has pointed out that the shortage of job opportunities, as well as
the low wages earned by women, have deterred families from investing in girls' education.
Because women have not been expected to work in the labor force, they have been deprived of
education; because they have been deprived of education, their employment opportunities have
been restricted; and because those opportunities have been restricted, their limited access to
education has been rationalized and perpetuated.

Evidence for a connection between women's education and increased income under their
control may be missing, to a large degree, simply because it has not been sufficiently researched or
has been researched in such a manner that important data is ignored (see Chapter Two). If an
education does increase the likelihood that women will have an independent income, then social
changes that occur when women gain such an income are a part of the social impact of formal
schooling for girls. Blumberg (1989), summarizing a number of studies, has concluded that
income under female control, relative to male controlled income, is a major determinant of
women's status. An independent income generally enhances women's decision-making power
within the household regarding childbearing, economic issues, and family welfare. In addition,
women's income is most often spent for children's nutrition and education and the family's basic
needs.

Having an independent income increases a woman's ability to have a social impact through her
ability to spend that income according to her own priorities. Blumberg (1989) has pointed out that
studies show that women tend to contribute a higher proportion of their income to family
subsistence, holding back less for personal consumption. In a study of poor families with children
in rural South India, no positive increase in child nutrition was found as paternal income rose,
while increasing maternal income did benefit children's nutrition (Kumar 1985). Kennedy and
Cogill (1987) have studied the effects of a shift from maize to sugarcane production in Kenya.
They found that much of the male farmer's increased earnings created by the change was spent on
nonfood products, but that in female-headed households, where women had the power to control
the resources, there was consistent evidence of the better nutritional status of children. A rural
Malay women's earnings are, theoretically her own, but most married women utilize at least part of
their income to supplement their husband's earnings (Strange 1978). All women who can manage
it have secret savings, which are used to send children to school who would otherwise be unable to
attend. Kemer (1986) found that, in Tanzania, when women have direct control over their income,
they tend to invest more heavily in the educational expenses of their children than do men.

A number of studies also have presented evidence that when women have a source of income
independent of their husband's earnings, it does affect their status within the family. Blumberg
(1985), studying the impact of agribusiness on women in Guatemala, found that after five years of







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

having their own earnings, which exceeded their husband's during peak season, the impact on
fertility was unmistakable. Women involved in waged work at the processing plant averaged 2.2
children in contrast to women of the same age in a nearby village, where their husbands were paid
for work that included their wives' help in the fields, who averaged 5.2 children. When asked
about further fertility, women in the villages where they did not control their own incomes, often
replied: "I don't want any more but my husband does, so I'll have to continue." Rosenzweig and
Schultz (1985) have found that the survival rate of female infants in relation to male babies was
higher in areas where there were better employment opportunities for adult women, female infant
mortality decreasing with increases in both mother's education and in economic opportunities for
women.

There also is, however, a fair amount of evidence that wage employment and economic power
do not necessarily lead to greater status and decision-making power within the family. Gallin
(1982) found that women in a Taiwanese community, which over the past 20 years has changed
from an economic system based almost purely on agriculture to one founded predominantly on off-
farm employment, had changed from strictly domestic work to joining men in public sector
employment. Yet their participation in work outside the home has not been accompanied by a
significant redefinition of their status. Strange (1978) studied village Malay women over a ten-year
period of shifting economic conditions. The lives of the poorer women in the village and their
responsibilities and socioeconomic roles were little different from their mothers', although literacy
had given them a greater awareness of the world beyond the village, which, combined with
exposure to mass media, had increased desires for things that they have no means for satisfying.

The relative scarcity of studies investigating the impact of an independent income on women's
status and the mixed results of those studies together with the absolute absence of research on the
more complex interrelationships among women's education, independent income, and status in
rural areas, point to a serious gap in the literature on the social impact of educating girls.

3.3 EDUCATION OF GIRLS IN AN URBAN CONTEXT

3.3.1 Skills Gained Through Primary Education

The degree to which girls can make use of the literacy and numeracy skills they learn in school
in an urban context may, to some degree, vary according to whether they are poor. For example,
Kamphoefner (1987) reports that the real uses of education for women of low socioeconomic class
in Egypt are few. If a woman seeks factory work or related formal sector employment, then to be
hired she may need to present a primary school certificate or pass a literacy test. But, as the supply
of workers outstrips the demand, these criteria are generally used only as artificial requirements to
narrow the pool of applicants, and literacy is rarely used at all on the job. A study of female
domestic servants in Peru found that literacy was useful to them primarily for writing letters to
relatives, reading newspapers, and increasing their personal contacts (De Sagasti 1972). While
finding that formal education may be of limited use for lower-class women in Egypt, Kamphoefner
(1987) did report that education has made them more desirable for marriage. He found educated
women more able to help their children with their homework, thereby replacing the private lessons
considered essential to success in school in Egypt. As poorer families cannot generally afford such
lessons, children without a mother who is able to tutor them will generally drop out of school at an
early age.

On the other hand, education for higher class women may more often correlate with
employment and increases in status. According to 1970 data from Brazil, rates of labor force
participation increased with the level of schooling for women, but, as the majority of Brazilian
women had less than four years of schooling at that time, this relationship was probably due to the







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

high socioeconomic status of the women who received an education (De Miranda 1977). In Brazil,
in a poor wage labor market, higher class women were four times more likely than lower class
women to be able to get jobs due to the opportunities provided by their social contacts. Moses
(n.d.) reports that in Montserrat in the British West Indies education for middle-class women was
more likely to confer social mobility, a good job, more income, and better housing than it was for
working-class women. In Chile, employed women generally earn less than men with the same
education and need higher levels of education than men for the same job. However, women's
education has a powerful effect upon the probability of their acquiring middle-class, "female
appropriate" jobs considered appropriate for females such as secretary, nurse, or teacher
(Schiefelbein and Farrell 1980).

In countries that are multilingual, as most areas of the world are, when the medium of
instruction in the school system is a national or international language, schooling for women
confers an additional skill, which is of special value in an urban context. In Yate's (1982) study of
the Belgian colonial schools in Zaire, one feature differentiating education for boys and girls was
the medium of instruction. The Education Act of 1890 emphasized the teaching of French in boys'
schools, but was unconcerned that the schools for girls taught no French. Later, reforms kept
French as an elective in all boys' schools and the language of instruction in schools to prepare male
clerks, but only African languages were used in girls' schools. In 1948, boys were provided with
the first full academic secondary schools using French as the language of instruction, but teaching
in the girls' schools continued to be in the vernacular only. Limiting literacy training for girls to
the local language, rather than French, effectively restricted girls' opportunities in the modern
sector.

As in the research on the impact of education in rural areas, there has been little investigation of
how girls' schooling affects their self-confidence, self-esteem, and perceptions of their roles.
Antrobus and Rogers found that women in Jamaica who were trained in skills such as management
and accounting, which required literacy and numeracy, reported increased self-esteem and
confidence. Verder Wees and Romijn (1987), who report that women have had little or no access
to small enterprise programs, consider women's lack of confidence as a key factor that inhibits
their performance in starting and operating small businesses. Clearly research is needed into the
relationship between a primary education and involvement in additional training programs,
entrepreneurial initiatives, and other activities that may be promoted by the confidence-building
aspects of an education.

Both LeVine (1980) and Caldwell (1986) have suggested that education increases a mother's
self assertion and confidence, which she uses to defend and pursue her children's health. In a
study of 300 mothers in a Mexican city, LeVine et al (1987) found that mother's schooling was
consistently related to those behaviors most important for child health. The proportion of
pregnancies in which the mother received prenatal care at a clinic was significantly related to her
years of school attendance. In a survey of infant health crises, the proportion of mothers who
took their children to a clinic within three days of the onset of symptoms was significantly greater
for those who had been to school for at least six years than for those with less or no schooling.

Chatterjee and Lambert (1989) found that the infants of illiterate women in India had a mortality
rate more than double that of those whose mothers had a primary education in rural areas, but that
this difference was reduced to two-thirds higher among illiterate women in urban areas. They
suggested that urban factors such as the greater availability of health services partially offset the
detrimental effects of female illiteracy in an urban area, while education leads to health-enhancing
changes, such as better hygiene and improved nutrition and feeding practices, in both rural and
urban contexts.







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

3.3.2 Attitudes Changed Through Primary Education

Primary education influences women's attitudes about family size. LeVine et al (1987) found that,
within a sample of 300 low-income, urban Mexican women, the women who had been to school
longer tended to want fewer children than those with little education, but their actual fertility greatly
depended heavily upon the number of children their husbands wanted. Chaudhury (1978),
studying fertility patterns in Bangladesh, found that use of contraception increases with each
increase in educational level, from 15 percent for women with no education, to 40 percent for those
with one to five years of education, to 71 percent at the highest level of education. Measurements
of contraceptive usage in Mexico (Smock 1981) show that better educated women tend to use
family planning techniques more frequently, with 10 percent use of contraception for illiterate
women compared to over 50 percent use for those with education beyond the primary level.
Kabwegyere (1975) found that women attending family planning clinics and adopters of
contraception in Kenya tended disproportionately to be more educated than those who did not,
having at least five to eight years of schooling.

The relationship between the amount of a mother's education and her desire to educate her children
generally improves in an urban context. Clignet (1977) found that the greater the number of
perceived occupational alternatives available to women, as is more true of an urban than a rural
context, the greater the incentive that parents have to send their daughters to primary school. In
rural areas of Egypt, mother's education was not found to be significantly related to current
participation in school by their children, but it had a significant positive effect in urban areas. In
Indonesia the effect of mother's education on the amount of education that daughters receive
reflects a rural/urban difference as well as class differences within the urban context, which also
have been linked to variations in occupational alternatives. A 10 percent increase in mother's
education was found to be correlated with an increase in their daughter's education by 1.2% in
middle-class urban families, by 0.7% in lower-class urban families, and by 0.3% in rural families
(King, et al, 1986). Fox (1973) found that the impact of urban residence on girls' education
appears to increase with each generation. Using data from three generations of women in Ankara,
Turkey, the amount of education women receive increased according to the number of generations
that the women had lived in an urban area.

3.3.3 Increased Control Over Life Through Primary Education

A study of 393 single, urban males in Ghana found no relationship between education and
desired family size. Their education was, however, related to changes in attitudes about family
structure, with an increased preference for nuclear units and more egalitarian roles within the
family. Oppong (1977) saw this relationship as a crucial intervening variable in a chain of domestic
changes that would, in the long run, lead to decreased fertility. If, as already suggested, women
desire fewer children than do men, then any change that creates more control over fertility choices
for women should lead to fewer children.

Evidence for whether or not education in itself, without the addition of an independent income,
provides women with greater decision-making control over matters such as fertility, child health,
or their own lives has seldom been gathered. LeVine et al (1987) found that, among low-income
urban women in Mexico, women with some schooling reported making more of the important
marital decisions jointly with their husbands than did women.with little or no education. Johnson's
(1972) study of Mexican women also found that illiterate women tended to be more husband-
dominated than whose with some education.

Yet, in a number of other studies, education does not appear to have altered either women's
decision-making power or their general status. Moses (n.d.) noted a distinction in the effects of







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

education according to the socioeconomic class of the woman receiving it. The study suggests
that, in the British West Indies, education may have created more status-enhancing benefits, such
as more income or social mobility, for higher than lower class women. Yet educated middle and
upper-class women still considered themselves to be subordinate vis-a-vis their husbands to a
greater degree than did educated working-class women. Middle- and upper-class women appeared
to have internalized the male dominance ideology to a greater degree than had the lower-class
women because higher-class men were better able to live up the roles set forth by the ideology,
which included providing the major economic support for their families and being present in the
household to make decisions. Abraham and Abraham (1988) found that the education of middle-
and upper- class women in India has generally led to some changes in attitude and lifestyles, but
rarely has transformed family structure substantially. Acharya (1980), while examining the
interactions among education, labor force participation, and the status of women in Nepal, found
inconclusive results, but reported that often illiterate women, whose poverty forces them out of
domestic confines in search of employment, seemed to have better control over their own lives than
did literate women belonging to higher socioeconomic groups who did not earn an independent
income.

The impact of education on girls' attitude may vary according to what opportunities are
available for change. In a number of countries education for girls has been promoted, but within a
cultural context that limits the activities in which a woman can participate outside the household.
Programs to promote women's education in Libya from the 1950s to the 1980s were not
accompanied by any action to facilitate women entering the labor market, as the oil wealth of the
country promoted hiring foreign female labor when needed (Attir 1985). Few social changes
appear to have resulted from the women's education in Libya other than shifts in style, such as
widespread unveiling-especially in urban centers, greater female participation in shopping and
driving, and intra-city travel without a male companion. Meleis, El-Sanabary, and Beeson (1979)
found a similar situation in Kuwait, where the primary motivation for a woman to obtain education
was to enhance her desirability as a wife and mother, but in a manner that would not disturb the
traditional structure of the family. Among Hausa Muslim women in Nigeria, Callaway (1986)
found that, while levels of education for girls and women were rising dramatically, attitudes
toward marriage and family and what was considered to be appropriate behavior for women did
not seem to be changing. She concluded that "to change the extent of female subservience, women
will need more than education--they will need a market for their skills and the social standing to
participate in nondomestic activates" (p. 15).

3.3.4 The Role of Women's Independent Income

As mentioned in the section on education in a rural context, one of the primary reasons that
women migrate to an urban area is the anticipated opportunity to earn an independent income and
change their economic condition. Charlton (1984), in a study of the migration of Ugandan women,
found that women were very vocal about why they migrated, saying that they were tired of being
unpaid laborers on farms. In urban areas they felt that they could obtain incomes for their labor
and change their economic positions. Evidence exists that girls' education does increase the
likelihood that women will find employment in urban areas and therefore gain independent income
(see Chapter II).

Having an independent income leads to social as well as economic changes in women's lives.
Alo and Adjiebeng-Asem (1988) found that income-earning activities of Nigerian women enhanced
their status in the home in a number of ways. Among those changes, it enabled women to
contribute directly to the household budget, which gave them more decision-making power; and it
allowed them to better meet obligations to kin and children and also to cultivate gift relationships
with a wider network of friends. Both of these benefits were felt to increase the woman's status.







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

Poor Mexican women reported that "of course (working for pay) is important, because if you earn
your own money you yourself distribute it and you do not have to beg for it" (Roldan 1982). In
addition, Roldan found that among female industry workers in Mexico City there was an
unmistakable link between the percentage of the total household pool contributed by women and
their leverage in fertility decisions. Having more children was a decision made by the women alone
among 50% of those who contributed 40% or more to the household income; it was the women's
sole decision among only 20% of those providing less than 40% of the total household resources.
Blumberg (1989) concluded that income under female control, relative to male controlled income,
is a major determinant of women's status, as an independent income generally increases women's
decision-making power within the household as well as providing funds for children's nutrition
and education.

The employment of women can also contribute to decreases in fertility rates. Ten percent of the
decline in birth rate in Hong Kong has been attributed to delayed marriage (Salaff 1976). Women
there have postponed marriage, which is culturally associated with the assumption of immediately
having children, due to economic responsibilities to their parents and siblings. In one of the few
studies directly investigating the interaction among women's education, their employment, and
social impacts, Chaudhury (1978) found that both education and waged employment increased the
use of contraception. In Bangladesh, a working woman who is illiterate or has very little formal
education has fewer children than her counterpart who is not working. But, with more education,
women have fewer children irrespective of whether they work outside the home or not. In
addition, among women with some education there is little variation in the use of contraception
according to work status, but, among women with no formal education, the use of contraception is
four times higher among employed women than those who do not have an income.

While there are research studies that indicate a relationship between education and increased
employment in urban areas and that address the impact of employment on women's lives and
status, there has been surprisingly little investigation of how all three factors interact. For
example, considering the importance of increased decision-making power if women are to act upon
what they have learned during their schooling, there are almost no studies addressing the
interrelationship of an education and an independent income on decision-making power in the
household.

3.4 CULTURAL VARIATION IN THE EDUCATION OF GIRLS

3.4.1 The Importance of Considering Cultural Variations

In their Nepal study of two ethnic groups differing in religious ideology and cultural traditions,
Acharya and Bennett (1981) found that a "woman's involvement in short-term employment or
trading outside the village had a significant, positive impact on her decision-making power over the
household's most important resource allocation decisions," but the impact varied within country
depending on the culture of the women. In many of the Buddhist Tibeto-Burman communities in
the northern part of Nepal, women are expected to be entrepreneurs and are well known for their
relatively high status and autonomy; in the more Indo-Aryan, Hindu communities in the southern
regions of the country, the activities of women are restricted to primarily household tasks and
traditionally their status has been low. Do the independent income-generating activities of women
have an impact on decision-making power or does the cultural system influence both the likelihood
that women will have an independent income and the status of women in household decision
making?

Caldwell's (1986) examination of 10 societies termed "superior health achievers," due to their
abilities to achieve low infant mortality and high life expectancy with a relatively low per capital







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

income, found a disproportionate number of countries in the group dominated by a Buddhist
ideology and a reoccurring cultural pattern of greater status and autonomy for women. The 10
societies termed "poor health achievers," due to high infant mortality rates and low life expectancy
relative to their higher per capital income, are all wholly or largely Muslim or have large Muslim
minorities. Caldwell finds a much higher percentage of girls in primary school in 1960 (to make
them the right age to influence the 1984 statistics on infant mortality), in the high health achievers
(largely Buddhist) than in the low health achievers (largely Muslim) countries. In his analysis of
how some of the high health countries were able to achieve these results, Caldwell addresses the
impact of both female autonomy and education. A number of studies on female status in Muslim
societies (Hashem 1990, El-Sanabary 1989, Lorfing and Abu Nasr 1985), the social impact of
education on Muslim women (Kamphoefner 1987, Attir 1985, Meleis, El-Sanabary, and Beeson
1979), and the nature of the education received by girls in those countries (Niles 1989; El-
Sanabary 1989, Tinker and Bramsen 1975, Attir 1985, Callaway 1986) raise questions about the
role of culture not only in limiting girls' access to schooling, but in limiting the ability of females to
use what they have learned. Should the impact of culture on the amount and quality of education
women receive and the amount of control over using what has been learned be ignored? Through
culture-specific approaches are there ways that girls' education can be improved and directed so
that it can have more social impact without disrupting religious and cultural values?

The power of culture is evident in Croll's (1976) study of Chinese women. She states that

"...although female productive labor is a necessary condition for female status,
it is not a sufficient condition. Despite the widespread incorporation of Chinese
women into social production, change in female status has been somewhat less
than expected. Changes in the economic situation did not necessarily result in
the adoption of a new ideology. Remnants of the traditional ideology, which
had taught that women should have no public influence or knowledge of affairs
outside the home, remained."

Does variation in culture influence what are necessary and sufficient conditions for changes in
female status, and what is education's role in those contexts?

These are questions without easy answers, if there are answers. The large, cross-cultural
studies on the social impact of girls' education that dominate the literature disguise culture-specific
patterns that may require culture-specific approaches. Just as the preceding sections focused on
how educating girls can affect them in different ways in rural and urban contexts, according to their
socioeconomic status and their control over their own income, this section will focus on how the
cultural context within which the education occurs can also influence its social impact.


3.4.2 Examples of Variation in the Impact of Education on Women Within
Specific Cultural Patterns

The assumption underlying much of the earlier development literature is that modernization has
generally benefitted the poorer countries of the world. However, the consensus among most of the
current literature is that, in at least many of those countries, modernization both has undermined
traditional female patterns of authority and power and has benefitted women far less than men.
The process of modernization did not begin upon "empty slates" and its effects, therefore, have
varied according to cultural variables and historical contexts. The Western world takes pride in the
relative status and power of women in its societies, and often assumes from the current relatively
low status of women in most developing countries that there are cultural restraints contributing to
that status that modernizing trends would help to overcome. Yet, in many countries of the world,







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

the current status of women not only is diminished from previous control over their lives, but,
frequently, the intervention of Western colonialism, technology, and value systems contributed
significantly to the present status of women. Consequently, the problems of educating women and
improving their status so that the impact of that education can be realized differ in each society
according to the traditional cultural role of women and the specific history of women's education
and control of resources. The following discussions of patterns of interaction among traditional
cultural systems, women's access to resources and education, and the current status of women are
designed to demonstrate how culture affects the social impact of education.

In many parts of Africa and Asia the traditional cultural patterns for men and women involve
separate domains of ownership, control, and responsibilities. Women in the Philippines have been
characterized as having high social status, egalitarian relationships with men, and extensive power
within the family, a social pattern traced back to a long tradition of segregated sex roles (Liu,
Rubel, Yu 1969, Youngblood 1978). In the Filipino story of creation, the first woman sprang
full-blown from the same cylinder of bamboo and at the same time as the first man (Clark 1979).
But, under Spanish colonialism, economic and status disparities between males and females in the
Philippines were intensified. Men began to move to labor centers and learned to use imported
technology; they became the wage earners and, as such, assumed control of money expenditure.
Changes in what was produced, from subsistence to cash crops, altered women's traditional
control over aspects of production and women were increasingly confined to dependent domestic
and childbearing roles. The status of men and women had traditionally compared as they were
considered incomparable entities with different domains of control (Clark 1979). But the arrival of
the Spanish, who placed much value on the shy, retiring, household version of femininity,
introduced a period of more passive roles for women than existed either before or after the period
of colonialism.

An economy that offered many opportunities for women to earn independent incomes,
provided a relatively high level of women's access to education, and a traditional cultural pattern of
authority contributed to the current status of Filipino women. In 1980, the female literacy rate in
the Philippines stood at 83 percent and Filipino women between 15 and 19 years of age were
slightly more literate than men of that age: 97.1 and 89.9 percent literacy rates for urban and rural
females respectively versus 96.8 and 88 percent literacy for males (Torres 1987). Although men
outnumber women in important economic, administrative, and political positions, and frequently
receive higher wages for the same work, middle- and upper- class women, at least, play an active,
and frequently prestigious, role in the work force, generally control the family purse strings, and
have basic equality with men (Liu, Rubel, and Yu 1969, Clark 1979, Youngblood 1978).
Women's status in the Philippines is also apparent in the high degree of social impact associated
with their education. Survey data show that maternal education is positively related to child
nutritional outcomes (Barrera 1988), to an increased role in marital decisions about fertility
(Caldwell and Oppong), and to the increased education of children, especially daughters (King
1983, King, et al, 1986).

In most Sub-Saharan African countries women also traditionally had separate domains of
power and responsibility from men. Sudarkasa (1982) has pointed out that the maintenance of
separate occupational domains for the two sexes did not automatically imply a hierarchical
relationship between those two domains in Sub-Saharan Africa. As in the Philippines, the colonial
period introduced new value systems of nuclear family structure that included pooled resources and
male dominance, which interacted with the traditional sex-role differentiation and with the
technological and economic changes associated with modernization, the benefits of which were
primarily experiences by males. The flexible, reciprocal division of labor that assigned women
responsibility for productive work was replaced by a definition of women in terms of their
reproductive roles. Being relegated to the household isolated women from socially valued







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

production, limited their access to material resources, decreased their personal autonomy, and
lowered their social status. Because their domestic tasks did not produce exchangeable
commodities, these tasks were not considered "work." Although the proportion of girls enrolled in
primary school in Sub-Saharan Africa has risen from 26 percent in 1960 to 69 percent in 1984,
illiteracy among women still stands at more than 70 percent on the average and more than 90
percent in rural areas (Njeuma 1987). The limited opportunities for earning an independent
income and the limited access to education women have experienced in most Sub-Saharan African
nations have set women on a track of continually decreasing status.

Yet the lack of any traditional cultural pattern restricting women from activities in the public
sphere means that women in most of these countries express their desire for education as a means
to economic and social power. The Zimbabwe Women's Bureau (1981) recorded women's
comments such as: "We can't get any seats on the council because we aren't educated" (Rusito,
p. 11); "We want to participate in local decisions and to be chosen as leaders of organizations that
are not only for women" (M'sengezi, p.17); and "Most women are not represented in the councils.
Yet women are the ones who know what must be done in the rural areas for them to be developed.
After all, it is the women who live there" (Nenguwo, p.18).

Education in Sub-Saharan African countries is in an unusual position both as part of the
modernization process that has eliminated many sources of status for women, and also as a
possible means for enhancing status, but a means that has, to varying degrees, been denied to
women. The present differences in girls' and boys' access to schooling and the differences in the
types of education that they receive began with the imprint of colonial values on their societies at a
period in time when those colonizing nations had gender-specific roles in mind, due both to their
own cultural values and economic or political desires. During the colonial period in Zaire, for
example, education for boys trained them for roles as noncommissioned officers, artisans, clerks,
male nurses, and plantation workers for the colonial administration. The education of girls was
restricted to domestic skills and Christian virtues designed to create a pool of "virtuous young
girls" among whom "our boys can find faithful and devoted wives" (Yates 1982, p.133).

Consequently, girls in Sub-Saharan African countries have had different educational
experiences than have boys. Frequently, differences in curricula for boys and girls occurred when
the earliest western-type schools were established. Staudt (1984) has studied colonial schools for
girls in African countries and found that they were concerned with "the preparation of food...with
household comforts...the care and feeding of children...and the occupations that are suited to the
interests and ability cf women." (p.7). Rogers (1980) also reports that it was boys who
everywhere were singled out for formal education in colonized countries, with missionaries
teaching girls little more than domestic skills. Rogers points out that in many poorer countries
home economics still dominates the education and training available to women and girls; cooking,
child care, sewing, and embroidery take up much of their time in many primary schools. Kerner
(1986) found that, in spite of reforms designed to increase women's access to education in
Tanzania, girls were often tracked into terminal vocational programs, such as domestic science.

A national survey of attitudes and school achievement among students in Botswana found
strong support for the notions that women should be primarily responsible for domestic work
(Duncan 1989). In addition, she found that a gender ideology that defined various subjects as male
or female was a significant factor in determining achievement. She also found a consistent
negative association between femininity and achievement, which implies that many girls are forced
to choose between competence and femininity. Kagia (1985) and Mwagiru and Ouko (1988) both
found that choice of curricula according to perceptions of female fields of study in Kenya limits
girls' range of opportunities.







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

In a Rwanda classroom it was observed that not only were males called upon more than
females, but that, when students asked for assistance, male students were responded to more
quickly and more frequently than were females (Van Belle-Prouty 1990). In addition, male
teachers often used gender-related comments to intimidate female students, for whom they
expressed limited role projections. Biraimah (1987), studying classroom interactions in primary
schools in Nigeria, found that girls' academic participation in class fell far behind that of boys,
with boys typically participating 35 times for every eight times for girls. Male students received
more positive reinforcement from the teachers; girls were assigned all the housekeeping duties for
the class. Dorsey (1989) noted that in Zimbabwe, as elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa, academic
expectations for girls are often low, which may depress aspirations and achievement. The teaching
staff in a school in Lome, the capital of Togo, generally used terms indicating little regard for the
ability, character, or potential of their female students. They often used negative or positive terms
that had little to do with academic success, such as "neat appearance" (Biraimah 1980).

Separate schools for boys and girls eliminate the daily bias experienced by girls in co-
educational schools. Dorsey (1975) found that academic achievement is higher for girls in single-
sex schools in Zimbabwe than in co-educational schools. However, Mwagiru and Ouko (1988)
found that, in 1979, 79 percent of all girls' schools in Kenya were boarding institutions, as
compared to 43 percent of the boys' schools. Boarding schools are expensive, which means that
fewer girls than boys can afford to go to school. In addition, Kagia (1985) concluded that lower
performance levels for girls than boys in Kenya were due mainly to the poorer quality of many
girls' schools.

Considering the type of schooling most girls who do have access to an education in Sub-
Saharan Africa experience, it is understandable why it may not teach them what is necessary in
order for them to be able to overcome the social consequences of low status. The current lower
status of women in these cultures may be due, in part, to gender roles passed on in the process of
education.

In many of the Hindu and Muslim countries of South Asia and the Middle East the traditional
cultural roles of women were generally confined, due to religious constraints upon their activities,
to household duties. Limited to a domestic sphere, women were isolated from the prestige and
power associated with public activities and from the control of resources. Women's authority and
status in these cultures were already restricted prior to the introduction of Victorian Western values
with colonialism. The shifts in land tenure and technology accompanying modernization further
eroded women's areas of control and status. For example, Hashem (1990) describes Yemen as a
male-dominated society in which it is the man of the family--husband, father, or brother--who
makes decisions about birth spacing, nutrition, workload, and preventive health care. In the
Fertility Survey of 1979, men's education and occupation were found to be the most important
determinants of women's knowledge of contraceptives.

What is of particular interest in an examination of the social impact of girls' education is the
role cultural values have played in the relatively wealthy, oil-rich Muslim nations. Although,
according to 1985 statistics, female primary school enrollments approached equal enrollments to
male students (Kudat and Abadzi 1989), girls' education had little social impact on the women who
were educated. In spite of access to education in the oil-exporting nations, opportunities for an
independent income have been extremely limited by cultural patterns that continue to restrict
women's roles to domestic spheres. Attir's (1985) study of women's education in Libya from the
1950s to the 1980s documents a process that was assumed would lead to major changes in Libyan
women's social position and roles. But no action was taken to facilitate women entering the labor
market, as the oil wealth of the country promoted hiring foreign female labor when needed. Attir
states that the only social changes resulting from women's education appeared to be widespread







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

unveiling, especially in urban centers, greater female participation in shopping and driving, and
intra-city travel without a male companion. Meleis, El-Sanabary, and Beeson (1979) found that in
Kuwait before women enter a new field, it must first be defined as "female." The women
themselves, with no prior cultural history of authority and control of resources, accept their lack of
status by the type of education that girls often receive in Muslim countries.

The sharp distinction between male and female socialization in most Muslim countries
according to El-Sanabary (1989), has a negative effect on girls' self-esteem and aspirations that is
reinforced by their experiences at school. Tinker and Bramsen (1975), writing of students who
attend Moslem schools in Nigeria, noted that:

"many girls keep their mouths shut in class. They do not ask their teachers any
questions. Neither do the teachers ask them. In fact most village school
teachers keep the girls at the back of the class away from the boys in order not
to incur the displeasure of the mothers."

Attir (1985) analyzed textbooks used in primary schools in Libya in the 1970s for representations
of males and females. Among the illustrations that depicted teachers in the classroom, only 18
percent of the teachers were female in spite of the fact that 44 percent of primary school teachers
during that period were female, hired from other countries almost exclusively. Only ten percent of
the names mentioned in these books were female. Callaway (1986) found extremely high rates of
failure on national examinations among Hausa Muslim school girls in Nigeria. Since parents,
teachers, and students all expected these girls to regard marriage and children as their primary
interests, there was no particular motivation for success in school. All girls were promoted
whether they passed or failed subjects, many girls taking their exams without ever having passed a
single subject. Girls who later want to become teachers can do so, regardless of whether they have
passed any subject or succeeded in the national exams. The failure rates, and the lack of concern
about them, suggest that education for girls was primarily viewed as a social interlude before
marriage, while boys' education was promoted because "men are bred to lead, therefore they need
Western skills" (p. 13).

In spite of a cultural pattern restricting women's activities and roles to the household, access to
economic uses for education appear to lead to long-term changes in both women's status and the
social impact of their education.

However, when economic necessity combines with the impact of current Western values in
cultures with traditional Muslim beliefs to force women out of their exclusively domestic roles,
there is evidence that girls' education may have greater social impact. Kamphoefner (1987) reports
that current economic conditions in Egypt appear to be earning a change in attitudes about women
working outside of the home. While traditionally it was considered shameful to the husband if his
wife was employed, this attitude has become less dogmatically held as a second income becomes
more essential. Educated women are gaining in respect. They are seen as more desirable
candidates for marriage, as they are perceived as being more able to find employment and provide
more income for the family. El-Sanabary (1989) reports that employment conditions for women in
Egypt have been extended to include quite liberal and often mixed work environments relative to
the lack of such opportunities or strictly gender-segregated ones found in Saudi Arabia.

The current educational status of women in Egypt is somewhat ambiguous. At the primary
school level, the proportion of girls enrolled has increased one and a half times faster than that of
boys since 1953 (Nasser 1987). Most of that gain, however, has been experienced in urban areas
and, in rural areas, nearly 85 percent of women were still illiterate in 1981. El-Sanabary (1989)
credits the rural/urban disparities to the concentration of educational facilities in the more affluent







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

urban areas and the "cultural lag" among rural inhabitants, as well as the perceived irrelevance of
formal education to agricultural activities. While the actual uses of education for women,
especially poorer women, in Egypt are still limited, there are a number of indications that the real
impact of their education will be felt in the next generation. Poorer women with an education are
especially desirable for marriage because they are able to help their children with homework.
Poorer households often cannot afford the private lessons considered essential to children's
success in school in Egypt (Kamphoefner 1987). When there is no one at home with enough
education to provide lessons, children frequently drop out of school. While in rural areas of Egypt
where traditional cultural constraints are stronger and opportunities for employment less, mother's
education was found to be significantly related to their children's current participation in schools.
(Cochrane, Mehra, and Osheba 1988). Cultural constraints on Egyptian girls have been found to
decrease parents' willingness to educate them as distance to school increases, as is frequently
found in rural areas (Robinson, et al 1986).

Lorfing and Abu Nasr (1985) found that daughters of educated mothers in Egypt held less
stereotypical attitudes about women's roles than did daughters of uneducated women. El-Sanabary
(1989) reports that when mothers' education leads to employment, they act as role models for their
daughters and alter their sex-role stereotypes. Bach et al (1985) found that adolescent daughters
credit their mother's praise and self-confidence building for their educational achievement. There
is a significant correlation between the reported use of praise and self-confidence creating behavior
and the amount of education mothers had achieved, with the most significant differences in the
lower classes and with mothers with only limited education. In addition, educated women can
have an impact on the increased education of women outside of their own household. Numerous
women's social welfare and feminist organizations in Egypt have sponsored education and training
projects for girls and women (El-Sanabary 1989). Most have offered classes in literacy and
income-generating skills, provided child care for children of working mothers, promoted health
education for women, and even offered housing for single mothers and their children.

The role that culture plays in how education will affect women's status and the degree to which
women will be able to use that education to have an impact on their societies is often avoided
because culture has too often been used as an excuse for why expected results have not been
achieved. However, in spite of a traditional cultural pattern restricting women's activities and roles
to the household, access to education and the possibility of economic uses for that education in
Egypt appear to be able to lead to long-term changes in both women's status and the social impact
of their education.

3.5 SUMMARY

3.5.1 Limitations of Existing Research on the Social Impact of Education on
Women

Throughout this review of the literature on the social impact of women's education, there have
been several consistent threads of interrelationships that cannot be recognized in either macro-level
quantitative correlation or micro-level qualitative studies. While the qualitative research can
recognize and isolate significant differences between subgroups such as rural and urban differences
or variations according to culture, they cannot supply much information about why those
differences occur. On the other hand, ethnographic studies can address how education has an
impact on the lives of women, how changes caused by education have an impact on the larger
social context, and how different socioeconomic classes react to education, but it can do so only
within either an urban or a rural context and can contrast only local cultural differences.

However, the most significant shortcoming of both types of data is the lack of a longitudinal







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

perspective. In the case of education this is extremely important as the social impact of a girl's
education will continue throughout her lifetime. The long-term impacts of the changes set in motion
by girls' education are, in addition, interrelated in an intricate manner that neither quantitative nor
qualitative studies alone can describe.

For example, the impact of women's education on their fertility, as Schultz (1989) has
suggested, could lead to mothers needing less child care from their older daughters, which, in turn,
could mean increased opportunities for these daughters' schooling. In a study conducted among
agricultural laborers in India, Caldwell, Reddy, and Caldwell found an interrelationship among
parental education, which led to a desire to educate children, women's independent incomes, and
fertility. Families reported that the number of children they could afford to educate was restricted,
especially over a limited number of years. Pregnancy and caring for infants reduced the mother's
earning capacity, increasing the difficulty in financing children's educations. Many respondents
insisted that they were able to keep children in school only because of the mother's decision to be
sterilized. Gulati (1985), in India, and Greenstreet (1990), in Ghana both found a relationship
between decreased child mortality and decreased fertility. In both studies increasing confidence in
the survival of children has led mothers to an increased willingness to use birth control. These
studies of decreased fertility all indicate how other social impacts of women's education, such as
increased health of children, increased desires to educate children, and increased participation in
waged employment, interact with one another to heighten the impact of altering the number of
children born.

3.5.2 How Education Changes Girls and How Social and Cultural Factors
Influence the Impact of Those Changes

The reappearing threads of association that have emerged from bringing together a wide range
of research on the social impact of women's education are not conclusions but, instead, indications
of how the impact of educating girls is affected by a number of social and cultural variables.
Education does alter girls' skills, such as literacy and numeracy, and does give them specific
knowledge, such as information that leads to improved health care. Education could, should, and
probably does alter women's self-confidence, self-esteem, and notions about their role in society,
but there has been too little research in this area to confirm whether or not this occurs and under
what circumstances. This is unfortunate as this may be the area of learning from which the most
social impact is realized, considering the following constraints upon women using the skills they
have gained during schooling. Education, in most cases, does lead to a desire to have fewer
children and to educate those children. Education also leads to a preference for urban life and
opportunities. But the degree to which the girls who acquire these new attitudes act upon them to
alter social realities are also influenced by the following social and cultural factors.

Increases in women's decision-making power due to education may play an
important role in how the impact of girls/ education is realized. However, the
amount of research into this process is still extremely limited and inconclusive.

The availability of income-producing activities, which enhance women's
decision-making power and status, may be a necessary ingredient that interacts
with the skills and attitude changes produced by education in order to produce
social changes. The accumulation of evidence suggests that decision-making
power is generated more frequently by economic power than by education
alone. How women's education, independent income, and status interrelate is
the most consistent and intriguing of the interconnections running throughout
the literature on the social impact of women's education.







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

While rural and urban distinctions are the most often reported variation in the
literature examined, which is why the report was organized along those lines,
there is little indication that they are the most important differences. The
availability of an independent income for women appears to be a far more
significant difference than rural/urban distinctions.

The literature suggests a variation in the social impact of education on girls of
different socioeconomic backgrounds. While high- and middle-class girls
appeared to demonstrate more beneficial consequences as a result of their
education in terms of their ability to use it to secure jobs and increase income,
the actual relative power and status changes in their lives as a result of schooling
may, in fact, be less than those experienced by working class women.

The cultural context in which the girls receive their education influences their
ability to use what they have learned and the type of education that they receive.
When traditional cultural patterns include female control of resources and
activities in the public sphere, then only access to education and opportunities to
earn an independent income appear to be necessary for women to increase their
status and have a social impact. The social impact of women's education is
restricted not only if access to education and economic opportunities are limited,
but also if traditional cultural patterns limit women to domestic activities.






Figure 9

Interrelationships Among Girls' Primary Education, Culture, and Social Change


Allows Female
Independent
Income


+


+


+


+





Increased


Decision-


Making



Power


Increased
Status
of
Women

Increased
Education
l of
Children


Decreased
Fertility


Increased
Child
Health


Migration


M


W







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries


CHAPTER FOUR

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY MAKERS

4.1 CONCLUSIONS

This report gathers and analyzes many of the studies on education's direct and indirect positive effects
on the economic and social well-being of women, their families, their communities, and their countries.
The overall impact of primary education is the result of the interplay of economic and social outcomes.
Primary education enhances women's ability to perform the multitude of economic activities in which they
are engaged and to learn new methods that vitally contribute to economic development and the economic
well-being of their families and themselves. Mastery of literacy, numeracy, communication, and
information processing skills prepares women to be more productive in the formal and informal sectors of
the work force as well as at home. With these skills, women are more likely to assume new economic
activities, search for jobs, or engage in their own microbusinesses. Women thus contribute more,
although they may not always realize these benefits in terms of real wage earnings or in earnings equitable
to those earned by men. These contributions are even more significant in countries experiencing economic
recessions.

Increases in women's decision-making power due to education may play an important role in how the
impact of girls' education is realized. It is in this area, especially, that the economic impact is closely linked
with social impacts. The availability of income-producing activities may not only enhance women's
decision-making power and status, but also may be a necessary ingredient that interacts with the skills and
attitude changes produced by education in order to produce social changes. The accumulation of evidence
suggests that decision-making power is generated more frequently by the combination of an independent
income along with primary education. Primary education not only provides girls with literacy and
numeracy skills but also leads to desires for fewer children and the education of those children. In
addition, schooling passes on skills that women can use to improve the health of their families. Where
women's lives are restricted to domestic activities, school can also provide an opportunity for the
development of greater self esteem, confidence, and new communication abilities.

More specifically, girls' primary education generally has the following impact on women:
Girls' primary education results in more active participation by women in the
labor force, whether in rural or urban areas. The level of participation,
however, is influenced by a variety of factors including age, culture, type of
industrialization, gender discrimination, and women's access to complementary
resources such as land, capital, and technical training.
Girls' primary education results in better skills and thus are more able to learn
new methods of operation that make them more productive members of the
labor force. But such potential is only realized if the employment opportunities
exist for women. These opportunities are afforded if broad-based rural
development strategy, industry dispersal, and gender discrimination in hiring
women especially in semi-skilled and skilled jobs are addressed. Moreover, the
type of industry promotion-whether labor-intensive or not, sex-stratified or
not, sustainable or not- and the type of working conditions i.e., sex
discrimination in promotions, health, and safety environment under which







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

not, sustainable or not- and the type of working conditions i.e., sex
discrimination in promotions, health, and safety environment under which
women workers operate-determine whether employment leads to higher wage
earnings and to longer productive life.

Girls' primary education can lead to increased access to credit and to vocational
and training programs among those women who are engaged in informal sector
activities. Girl's primary education can also lead to higher profits especially in
self-employed and informal sector activities that are more demanding in literacy,
numeracy, and problem-solving skills. Education may not make as much of a
positive impact when women are engaged in traditional activities that primarily
rely on hands-on experience or when the activities in which they are engaged
are constrained by lack of capital resources.

As principals in home production activities, women with education increase
their production of nonmarketed goods, leading to improved childrearing
practices, better family health, greater consumer choice efficiency, and lower
fertility.

There may be a variation in the social impact of education on girls of different
socioeconomic backgrounds. While on the one hand high- and middle-class
girls appear to demonstrate more beneficial consequences as a result of their
education, especially secondary and tertiary, in terms of their ability to use it to
secure jobs and increase income, on the other hand, the actual relative power
and status changes in their lives as a result of schooling, may, in fact, be less
than those experienced by working-class women.

The cultural context in which the girls receive their education influences their
ability to use what they have learned and the type of education that they receive.
When traditional cultural patterns include female control of resources and
activities in the public sphere, then only access to education and opportunities to
earn an independent income appear to be necessary for women to increase their
status and have a social impact. The social impact of women's education is
restricted not only if access to education and economic opportunities are limited,
but also if traditional cultural patterns limit women to domestic activities.

The positive outcomes of girls' primary education are therefore conditioned by the prevailing
economic, social, and cultural environments. In particular, the degree to which the basic skills and
attitude changes produced by education enhance social and economic development largely depend
on several factors. Age; type of economic policies; distribution of resources, especially land and
credit; gender discrimination; cultural and social norms; and socioeconomic background are key
factors that affect the manner and degree to which women use their education-acquired skills.

4.2 FURTHER AREAS OF RESEARCH

In addition to what the literature on girls' education has documented about economic and social
impacts, it has also provided a map of areas that need more or a different type of research. One of
the most significant shortcomings in the literature examined has been a failure to address the
diversity of activities that can be affected by women's education. The evaluation of social impacts
has focused upon the benefits of a girl's education that are measured in terms of her reproductive
roles in society, i.e., fertility rates, child health, and child education. Very little research has been







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

devoted to the range of other roles women play in society and changes education makes in how
those roles are performed. The evaluation of economic impacts has focused upon labor force
participation that is measured in terms of market and monetary benefits. More research needs to be
directed toward the changes education makes in the diverse economic activities women were
engaged in before entering into statistically measured market activities, and/or instead of those
activities.

A number of specific areas where research is needed have been isolated by this review of the
existing literature on the economic and social impacts of girls' primary education and they are listed
below. Many of these areas have been overlooked because they are not easily quantifiable, which
suggests that not only is more research needed, but that different types of research may be needed.

There is a need to examine in greater detail the differential impact of the
structure and content of schooling on women's social roles, their economic
production, and the impact they have on their society.

There is a need for better research on the impact of women's education in rural
areas, where the current methods of measuring economic productivity and shifts
in social roles are defined in such a way that they often fail to capture changes
that are occurring.

There is a need for research to examine the differential impact of education on
women of varying socioeconomic classes. For example, a clear distinction
should be made between women's participation in self-employed economic
activities, which require a substantial capital base, and the informal sector
activities of poorer women. As another example, a primary school education
may have relatively greater impact on the decision-making power and status of
low-class than higher-class women.

There is a need for systematic analysis of educational impacts on women's
access to formal and informal credit sources, as most of the current evidence is
anecdotal.

There is a need for studies on increases in women's relative decision-making
power that are associated with increased education, acquiring an independent
income, and the interaction of education and independent income.

There is a need for research on how education affects women's capacity to
engage in more diverse economic and social activities.

There is a need for more systematic and rigorous analysis of how the presence
of distortions in the labor market, such as gender discrimination, affect the
measure of education's economic impact.

There is a need for research that focuses upon the social changes education
makes in girls, especially its impact on their social skills, self-confidence, and
sense of efficacy.

There is a need to incorporate the nonmarket or nonmonetary benefits of
women's education into the rate-of-return approach to measuring economic
benefits.







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries

SThere is a need for research into how education leads to increases in women's
status through changes in existing economic and social relationships.

In addition to areas of change that are not examined sufficiently by the existing research, the
methodologies that are primarily used focus upon outcomes rather than processes. Statistical
correlations among quantifiable measurements, such as wages earned, years of schooling, and
number of children, provide evidence of changes but do not include information about how those
changes were achieved. A lack of information about the process of education's impact can lead to
assumptions that distort the meaning of the reported outcomes. For example, almost all of the
studies examined assumed that women who are not participating in the labor force are dependent
on their husbands or parents and are engaged only in household activities, which ignores the
income-producing activities of most poorer women. If measurement of education's economic
impact is limited to increased involvement in the labor force, then increased productivity in
nonmarket activities is never measure. A lack of information about the process of how education
creates changes also limits understanding of what are the conditions in which education can
produce significant impacts. For example, insight into variations in the relationship between girls'
education and increased infertility is provided through an examination of women's ability to make
fertility decisions.

Longitudinal research was seldom found in the literature examined, in spite of the fact that it
could lead to data in areas of impact frequently ignored and data about how the process of impact
occurs. Longitudinal studies allow intermediate changes to be examined for their impact on long-
range goals. For example, while rural women's education may initially show little economic or
social impact, increased productivity in nonmarket activities may increase the well-being of the
entire family over a period of time, and changes in expectations, knowledge, and decision-making
power may increase the education and achievement of their children. In addition, because
longitudinal studies are relatively open-ended, the outcomes of increased education will be
measured without being limited to what other variables that information is available about. As with
an ethnographic study, research can be influenced by the actual circumstances and relationships
discovered rather than by predetermined expectations. A third advantage of longitudinal studies is
that they better allow for the examination of the interrelationships among a number of variables.
Education leads to both economic and social changes; social changes affect economic outcomes,
and economic changes affect social outcomes.







The Economic and Social Impacts of Girls' Education in Developing Countries



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Abu, N., I. H. Julinda, and J. Mikati. 1983. Identification and Elimination of Sex Stereotypes in
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Academy for Educational Development and Creative Associates International, Inc. 1989.
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Academy for Educational Development. 1989. Partnerships for Learning: School Completion
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Academy for Educational Development. n.d. "A Planning Study for the Carthage Institute of
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