Social Exclusion and the Gender Gap in Education

40 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Maureen Lewis

Maureen Lewis

World Bank

Marlaine Lockheed

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Center for Global Development; World Bank

Date Written: March 1, 2008

Abstract

Despite a sharp increase in the share of girls who enroll in, attend, and complete various levels of schooling, an educational gender gap remains in some countries. This paper argues that one explanation for this gender gap is the degree of social exclusion within these countries, as indicated by ethno-linguistic heterogeneity, which triggers both economic and psycho-social mechanisms to limit girls' schooling. Ethno-linguistic heterogeneity initially was applied to explaining lagging economic growth, but has emerged in the literature more recently to explain both civil conflict and public goods. This paper is a first application of the concept to explain gender gaps in education. The paper discusses the importance of female education for economic and social development, reviews the evidence regarding gender and ethnic differences in schooling, reviews the theoretical perspectives of various social science disciplines that seek to explain such differences, and tests the relevance of ethnic and linguistic heterogeneity in explaining cross-country differences in school attainment and learning. The study indicates that within-country ethnic and linguistic heterogeneity partly explains both national female primary school completion rates and gender differences in these rates, but only explains average national learning outcomes when national income measures are excluded.

Keywords: Primary Education, Education For All, Gender and Education, Population Policies, Disability

Suggested Citation

Lewis, Maureen and Lockheed, Marlaine, Social Exclusion and the Gender Gap in Education (March 1, 2008). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4562, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1109261

Maureen Lewis (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

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Marlaine Lockheed

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Center for Global Development ( email )

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Washington, DC 20036
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World Bank ( email )

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