Islam and Gender Inequality in Education

Fatou Jah, Cornell University

The events of September 11 have reinforced in the public imagery the association of Islam and limited access to female education. Whereas previous studies have noted the larger gender gap in education in some Islamic countries, the reasons are not well understood. This research attempts to advance knowledge in this area by investigating the makeup of gender inequality in education. Using DHS data from 36 countries and life table analysis, I estimate the gender gap in secondary school completion and then divide this gap into three main sources: “cultural,” “demographic,” and “economic” factors. Next, I examine if cultural rather than demographic and economic factors are responsible for the gender gap in Moslem countries more than would be the case in other countries with comparable gender inequality. The analytical approach adds breadth, depth, and richness to efforts to provide efficient policies to address the global educational gender gap.

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Presented in Session 64: Determinants of Educational Attainment