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Gender gaps in education - India

Anjini Kochar Stanford Center for International Development Stanford University


The views expressed in this paper are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), or its Board of Governors, or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. The countries listed in this paper do not imply any view on ADB's part as to sovereignty or independent status or necessarily conform to ADB's terminology.

Overview of talk
Data on gender disparities and trends National, rural/urban, regional, caste Gender disparities in achievement/quality Evidence from within schools, Karnataka Data on household expenditure on boys, girls Rural/urban, regional Theories Gender differences in returns and costs of schooling Family / cultural factors (son preference) Changing nature of the family (Karnataka) Conclusion

2007: Gender gaps in completed level of schooling, by age group and rural/urban sector (NSS 64th round, major states)
Age group/ completed educ 11-13 primary Currently - HPS 14-16 Primary Upper primary Currently enroll secondary 17-19 Primary Upper primary Sec Higher sec Currently in Hsec Rural Male 0.70 (0.46) 0.55 (0.50) 0.83 (0.37) 0.51 (0.50) 0.35 (0.48) Female 0.66 (0.47) 0.51 (0.50) 0.78 (0.41) 0.46 (0.50) 0.30 (0.46) Male 0.80 (0.40) 0.59 (0.49) 0.89 (0.31) 0.65 (0.48) 0.42 (0.49) Urban Female 0.79 (0.41) 0.58 (0.49) 0.88 (0.32) 0.66 (0.47) 0.40 (0.49)

0.83 0.63 0.38 0.12 0.16

(0.37) (0.48) (0.49) (0.31) (0.37)

0.72 0.52 0.31 0.12 0.10

(0.45) (0.50) (0.46) (0.30) (0.31)

0.90 0.75 0.54 0.22 0.22

(0.30) (0.43) (0.50) (0.41) (0.41)

0.89 0.76 0.59 0.28 0.20

(0.31) (0.43) (0.49) (0.45) (0.40)

Rural: Comparison across cohorts suggests narrowing gaps over time Urban: insignificant gender gap

Trends in gender gaps in completed higher secondary (12 years) by region, Rural India, (NSS), Ages 19-25
.25 mean of chsec

.05

.1

.15

.2

1995

2007

1995

2007

1995

2007

1995

2007

1995

2007

North

central Male

East

West Female

South

Same patterns: Narrowing of gender gaps in all regions; approximately equal gender gaps (2007-08) in all regions Greatest reductions in Central and West With growth, growing disparities in education (male, female) across regions

Urban India (NSS) - Trends in gender gaps in completed higher secondary (12 years) by region, Ages 14-18

mean of chsec

.1

.2

.3

.4

1995

2007

1995

2007

1995

2007

1995

2007

1995

2007

North

central
Male

East

West
Female

South

Gaps narrowed in all regions, except East High growth regions are North, West, South

Most recent data is from ASER 2011 Proportion out-of school children (India, rural)

Narrowing gender gaps, within each cohort

Even in rural Bihar and Punjab

Rural Bihar

Rural Punjab

Data suggest that gaps appear at primary level, and then sustained or narrowed at higher level Ages 20-25, Rural India, 2007
Proportion of ages 20-25 (2007) completed primary: Males: 0.77; Females 0.57 - 20 percentage point difference
1995 survey: Gender gap in primary completions, ages 11-13 (1995): Males 0.63 (0.48); Females 0.47 (0.50) 16 percentage point difference Gender gap in secondary completions, ages 20-25 (2007): Males 0.33 (0.17); Females 0.22 (0.10) 11 percentage point difference Gender gap in higher secondary completions, ages 20-25 (2007): Males 0.18 (0.38); females 0.11 (0.31) 7 percentage point difference Contrary to what one might want: everyone gets at least a primary education, and gender gaps show up at higher levels here, gender gaps are lowest at low levels, and then narrow over time

Pattern is true of all regions Rural India, ages 20-25 (2007-08, NSS)
Region
North Central East West South

Completed primary Males Females 0.81 0.61 (0.40) (0.49) 0.71 0.45 (0.45) (0.50) 0.72 0.59 (0.45) (0.49) 0.87 0.72 (0.33) (0.45) 0.83 0.67 (0.38) (0.47)

Completed higher secondary Males Females 0.22 0.16 (0.41) (0.36) 0.15 0.08 (0.36) (0.28) 0.12 0.08 (0.32) (0.27) 0.23 0.15 (0.42) (0.36) 0.22 0.16 (0.42) (0.36)

Gender gaps much larger at primary level (those who did not complete primary), then at higher secondary level, suggesting that gender differences in completed years of schooling is primarily because of gender differences in those completing primary

Urban India, ages 20-25 (2007-08, NSS)


Region
North Central East West South

Completed primary Males Females 0.86 0.80 (0.35) (0.40) 0.82 0.72 (0.38) (0.45) 0.86 0.78 (0.34) (0.42) 0.92 0.88 (0.28) (0.33) 0.92 0.87 (0.27) (0.34)

Completed higher secondary Males Females 0.39 0.31 (0.49) (0.59) 0.33 0.34 (0.47) (0.47) 0.36 0.31 (0.48) (0.46) 0.39 0.39 (0.49) (0.49) 0.39 0.39 (0.48) (0.49)

Gender gaps much larger at primary level (those who did not complete primary), then at higher secondary level, suggesting that gender differences in completed years of schooling is primarily because of gender differences in those completing primary

By caste - In North, South and West (high growth regions), gender gaps are LARGER amongst upper castes, rural India, ages 14-18, 2007-08 (NSS)

Region
Prop completed upper primary North Central East

Upper castes Males Females

SC/ST
Males Females

West
South

0.67 (0.47) 0.50 (0.50) 0.49 (0.50) 0.72 (0.45) 0.78 (0.41)

0.55 (0.50) 0.43 (0.49) 0.52 (0.50) 0.59 (0.49) 0.71 (0.45)

0.44 (0.50) 0.39 (0.49) 0.40 (0.49) 0.58 (0.49) 0.64 (0.48)

0.36 (0.48) 0.32 (0.46) 0.31 (0.46) 0.52 (0.50) 0.63 (0.48)

Alternative way of looking at gender gaps: Of currently enrolled, percentage who are women (NSS, 2007-08) Doesnt standardize for age: gender gaps may reflect differences in acceptable ages at enrollment Differences across levels reflect cohort effects

Currently enrolled in Primary Middle Secondary Higher secondary

Rural 45% 46% 42% 38%

Urban 46% 46% 46% 46%

Same patterns and regional trends revealed in institution level data (MHRD, Annual Report 2010-2011), % of female students in universities and colleges, 2008-09

Region/State
South A.P. Karnataka Kerala Tamil Nadu North Punjab Haryana H.P. Rajasthan

% of female students
41% 44% 56% 47% 51% 43% 47% 37%

Region/state
West Gujarat Maharashtra Central Bihar MP UP Chattisgarh Jharkhand

% of female students
44% 43%

30% 38% 37% 35% 34%

Even here, trend is declining gender gaps MHRD: Number of girls per 100 boys, class IX-XII
Region/State South A.P. Karnataka Kerala 71 82 107 80 89 100 2001-02 2005-06 Region/state West Gujarat Maharashtra 68 76 67 92 2001-02 2005-06

Tamil Nadu
North Punjab Haryana H.P. Rajasthan

84

97

Central
Bihar 44 52 36 57 54 47 58 58 65 62

83 68 86 38

84 76 88 46

MP UP Chattisgarh Jharkhand

While data suggests narrowing gaps in levels of education, what is the evidence regarding quality? Learning gaps less research and data

Current (on-going) study of rural Karnataka schools (720 schools, 11 districts) Very little evidence of a gender gap in learning in the South, and, instead, a reverse gap favoring girls. Government schools only, so results will be biased if brighter boys go to private schools Complete picture will require data which surveys all schools in an area, and conducts same test in all schools (eg. LEAPS, Pakistan)

Test Scores, Rural Karnataka, Grade 3 2009-10 (Karnataka schooling project data)
Test score Language (max=100) Male Female F test for equality Prob > F Mathematics (max=100) Male Female F test for equality Prob > F Full sample 33.91 (0.33) 37.01 (0.34) 42.39* (0.00) Quartile of District EDI rank 1 (top) 2 3 41.17 (0.83) 45.61 (0.80) 14.77* (0.00) 40.19 (0.60) 43.57 (0.62) 15.27* (0.00) 33.14 (0.81) 39.60 (0.80) 32.75* (0.00) 4 26.83 (0.50) 26.78 (0.52) 0.00 (0.95)

20.49 (0.22) 21.13 (0.22) 4.01 (0.05)

25.68 (0.64) 27.79 (0.62) 5.43 (0.02)

21.86 (0.40) 22.60 (0.42) 1.64 (0.02)

18.45 (0.49) 18.25 (0.46) 0.09 (0.77)

18.33 (0.33) 18.44 (0.35) 0.04 (0.85)

Table 8: Test scores for grade 3 students, by gender and District EDI rank Note: Language and math test scores based on grade specific curriculum. Sample size=11,447. Standard errors in parentheses. *Statistically significant different at 1% level

Learning gaps at higher levels


Difficult to interpret, because of greater selectivity of women into higher education Eg., MP, results from HSC-12 examinations: Proportion Division 1: men - 0.24; women - 0.32 Proportion failing: men 0.18; women 0.12 But, proportion of female students (of those appearing for the exam): 0.39

Possibility of gender gap in quality of schooling comes from data on schooling expenditures 1995 and 2007 particularly in urban areas

5,000

4,000

1,000

1,000

mean of edexp 2,000 3,000

mean of edexp 2,000 3,000

4,000

5,000

1995

2007

1995

2007

RURAL

URBAN

Expenditure on schooling (all items), on children ages 12-15 currently enrolled in higher primary school or higher (NSS Education Surveys).

Reflects enrollment in private schools, of far greater significance in urban areas (NSS education surveys, 1995 and 2007)

.4

.3

mean of pvt .2

.1

.1

mean of pvt .2

.3

.4

1995

2007

1995

2007

Rural

Urban

Urban India: regional variation in education expenditure, 1995 & 2007 (ages 12-15, currently enrolled upper primary or higher) particularly high in North and Central regions (traditional son preference)
8,000
3,000 mean of tuition

6,000

mean of edexp

4,000

2,000

1,000 0

2,000

1995
1 2

2007

1995
1 2

2007

Total Educational Expenditure

School tuition costs

Rural India: regional variation in education expenditure, 1995 & 2007 (ages 12-15, currently enrolled upper primary or higher) Again high in North, but also in South
3,000

mean of edexp

2,000

mean of tuition

1,000

200

400

600

800

1995
1 2

2007

1995
1 2

2007

Total Educational exp.

School tuition fees

Conclusions from data


Reduction in gender gaps in completed schooling Within cohort analysis suggests that difference in years of schooling may reflect larger drop out rates by women at lower levels of schooling - challenge is at the elementary level While gender disparities in years of schooling appear to be narrowing, emerging gaps in expenditure on schooling, particularly in regions that have traditionally shown son preference Economic literature suggests that quality gap may influence income (and other outcomes) more than quantity gap (Hanushek et al 2007, Heckman and co-authors)

Theory
Predicting narrowing gaps: due to higher returns to schooling for women; increases in maternal education; higher income elasticity of demand for female education (Maitra et al, 2012) Munshi and Rosenzweig (2004) rates of return from pvt schooling are higher for women, but only amongst lower castes reverse gender gap for lower castes, but no predictions for higher castes Increasing gaps: Transition from agricultural to non-agricultural economy may initially cause increasing gender gaps which will then be narrowed - inverted U hypothesis (Goldin) diff. in rates of return in transition Greater credit constraints as incomes rise, causing greater gender inequality in household expenditure.

In India, general belief that effect of rates of return mediated by gender differences in returns to parents from sons/daughters
Traditionally believed that this would exacerbate effect of any gender differences in return May also generate increasing gender gaps

Das Gupta and Bhat (1997): with rising incomes and consequent decline in fertility, a reduction in the parity effect (discrimination against girls at higher parities) but increase in the intensification effect (greater discrimination at lower parities), with latter effect dominating.
Underlying reason: family systems with strong disincentives against investments in girls

Problem with that explanation: insufficient attention to changing nature of the family (survey data, Karnataka, 2009-10)
father Mother

Grandparents financially dependent on children Parents expect to be financially dependent on children In families which support their parents, proportion of parents who expect to depend on their children

61.55% 49.38% 58%

61.40% 50.65% 57%

Expect to reside by themselves or with spouse Expect to reside with children

26%
54%

29%
53%

Family and gender gaps


Data (Karnataka) also do not suggest greater investment in older son, with who parents are most likely to live with Expected years of schooling do not vary across sons (even by caste) Despite the fact that parents generally claim that older son is brightest (particularly amongst lower castes) Alternative explanation: Dependence on son reduced expenditure on sons, because of fears regarding commitment to provide support. Widening gaps as parental dependence on children increases (work in progress). May particularly take the form of increased expenditures on private schooling, since returns to private schooling are really in the non-agricultural, formal sector

Conclusions and Policy Implications:


Particularly need research on whether gender gap is switching from quantity of schooling to quality, and reasons for this If gender gaps reflect family preferences, then programs which rely on community organizations may not be successful (NPEGEL, operates through community and womens organizations) If increasing gaps reflect credit constraints, then have to restructure programs such as Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education (2008-09) to address these constraints rather than Rs. 3000 in fixed deposit, withdrawable at age 18,need to provide funds continuously through secondary stage.