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Educating Girls in the Third World

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
For more content, see Comparative Sociology.

Building on the widespread recent suggestion that the education of girls may well be one of the best investments that a less-developed country can make, this study presents the results of a series of quantitative, cross-national, panel regression analyses designed to assess the effects of a) level of girls' education (primary and secondary enrollment rates), and b) gender inequality in education (male-female enrollment ratios), on a wide range of demographic, social and economic development outcomes. Both the education of girls in and of itself, and the provision of equal access to education for boys and girls (i.e., gender equality in education) were found to have the following subsequent benefits for societies: lower crude birth rates, longer life expectancies, lower death rates of all sorts, improved basic needs provision, and more rapid rates of economic growth.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06268, U.S.A.; 2: Department of Sociology, Clark University, Worcester, MA 01610, U.S.A.


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