Despite the great expansion of educational opportunities worldwide during the past thirty years, women in most developing countries still receive less schooling than men. Yet there is compelling evidence that the education of girls and women promotes both individual and national well-being. An example is the strong link between a woman's education and her employment and income. Another is that better-educated women bear fewer children, who have better chances of surviving infancy, of being healthy, and of attending school. When women are deprived of an education, individuals, families, and children, as well as the societies in which they live, suffer. When women are adequately educated everyone benefits.
Why, then, do women in much of the developing world continue to lag behind men in measures of educational attainment, including literacy, length of schooling, and educational achievement? This volume begins to address this puzzle by examining how educational decisions are made. This is done by exploring the costs and benefits, both public and private, that determine how much families invest in educating their daughters and their sons. The volume illustrates the importance of economic and cultural differences among developing countries in explaining variations in the manner in which these costs and benefits influence schooling choices.
The book brings together information on women's education and development, reviews research results for each developing region, identifies gaps in current knowledge, and discusses problems of methodology. The contributors assess the strategies that have been used to improve schooling for girls and women and point the way to an agenda for research, policy, and programs. The study concludes with a challenge to researchers, policymakers, and development specialists to ensure that during the next century women in the developing world do not remain educationally disadvantaged..