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Women's Education and Development in Developing Countries : Critical Review from Economics of Education Perspective
The importance of women's education for the social and economic development of the Third World countries has been emphasized, especially in recent years, by international and national organizations, and researchers in the fields of education and development. However, women's educational levels are lower than men's in most societies all over the world. Most educational decision makers share the belief on ethical grounds that this educational gender gap should be eliminated. The strength of this equity argument aside, some empirical studies have pointed out the importance of women's education for socioeconomic development and even that women's education is always more effective for development, compared with men's (e.g., King and Hill 1993). This idea has been well accepted in the fields of education and development. There is a clear recent trend to treat women's education with greater significance in the international development community because of its greater impact on socioeconomic development than that of men's education. However, this review indicates a more complex picture of women's present situation in society. Women's education can contribute to social development through reducing fertility and improving family condition while women's education cannot efficiently contribute to economic development because of social discrimination for women's participation in formal economy. Also, the patterns of contribution of women's education for economic development differ across levels of development.
Given the findings of this review, it is important to consider how women can participate more in economic development. Simply investing in women's education is not sufficient without making efforts to eliminate the factors that prevent them from participating in economic activities. In practice, educational policy makers should also attend to the social circumstances of women in each society to make the investment in women's education work in the development process.
本研究は文部省科学研究費基盤研究 A 受託研究「発展途上国における社会経済開発と女子教育の連関に関する総合的研究」（研究代表者 佐藤尚子広島大学教育学部教授）の一部として行なった。
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