BRIDGE Report 53: Education and Poverty: A Gender Analysis

Author: Z. Oxaal
Publisher: Institute of Development Studies UK
Publication Date: Jun 1997
The demand for girls to stay at home and do domestic labour poses an obstacle to girls' education. Furthermore, households often do not see the benefits of schooling girls. Reasons include: wage differentials between educated women and men, daughters being expected to leave the household upon marriage; and tradition favouring female seclusion, or women remaining within the home. Other constraints to girls' schooling include concerns about girls' safety both in school and journeying between home and school, and worries about girls becoming sexually active. A gender perspective on poverty and education highlights several possible strategies to tackle female disadvantage. These include: reducing opportunity costs to girls' schooling, e.g., through childcare provision or investment in labour saving infrastructure; incentives and scholarships for girls' enrolment; educational initiatives outside of the schooling system, such as adult education and literacy programmes; improving the quality of education and tackling gender bias in the curriculum; and policies to tackle discrimination in labour and financial markets, which prevents women from realising the returns to educational investment.